On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, we celebrate the lives of two lost Philly Legends: Paul ‘Earthquake’ Moore and KeVen Parker.
On a solemn, celebratory day where Philly is meant to pay tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King with purpose and with civil service, it’s difficult to ignore the passing of two crucial members of the Black community who leave their own legends. KeVen Parker and Paul “Earthquake” Moore.
Reverend Paul Moore. If you don’t immediately recognize that name, then you’re not, like me, from Southwest Philly and know well his role there as a hardline community activist who spearheaded everything from that region’s 24 Hour Food-A-Thon, the Celebrity Turkey Run and Giveaway, the Community Claus. And, oddly enough, its MLK Day of Service and the Weekend of Peace. If you still don’t know, yes, he was “Earthquake” Moore.
A prominent Philly welterweight boxer, back in the day. Also known as The People’s Champ, from Bartram Village. Who, in December, sent a pair of boxing gloves to President-elect Joe Biden for his win. Moore was colorful enough for five lifetimes. He had small parts in locally-lensed films such as “Philadelphia” and “Beloved”. Had a radio show, the Primetime Power Show. And got a shout out from City Councilperson David Oh on his passing
KeVen Parker. I can’t pretend like I know him… know him. But, when he was a style-conscious totem of Philadelphia’s restaurant renaissance – soul food division – and moving his chic Ms. Tootsie’s onto South Street, he, along with Delilah Winder and the Bynum family, opened the door for Black Philadelphia culinary entrepreneurs to make a showing.
A flashy guy and a nice man to talk to, when we spoke. He was a regular part of my Icepack column when it was at City Paper (now in the Weekly). Every prominent Black musical and theatrical touring artist made their way to Tootsie’s for his daring, Southern-style menus. His name should be lionized along with the Stephen Starrs and Neil Steins of the city. Dig that.