Updated: Oct 12, 2022
Jamaican born Dr Harold Moody campaigned against racism in Edwardian Britain and provided free medical care to the poorer members of his local community before the establishment of NHS.
On the 1st September 2020, Google Doodle recognised Jamaican-born British doctor, racial equality campaigner, and founder of the U.K.'s first civil rights movement Dr. Harold Moody.
On this day (1st September) in 1904, Dr. Moody arrived in the U.K. from Jamaica to pursue his medical studies at King’s College London. Alongside his medical work, he dedicated his life to campaigning for racial equality and advocating against discrimination.
Harold Arundel Moody was born on October 8, 1882, in the Jamaican capital of Kingston. He received early exposure to the medical field while in secondary school through his work for his father’s pharmaceutical business. Determined to become a doctor, he left Jamaica in 1904 to study medicine in London.
Dr. Moody soon came face-to-face with rampant racism in Edwardian London. Even though he qualified to practice medicine, finished top of his class, and won numerous academic prizes, he was repeatedly refused work due to the color bar system that denied people opportunities based on race. Instead, he opened his own private medical practice in Peckham, South East London—the neighborhood that inspired the design of the buildings situated below Dr. Moody in today’s Doodle. The children depicted represent the countless impoverished youth Dr. Moody would treat free of charge, in a time before the U.K. had a National Health Service. In doing so, Dr. Moody earned a reputation as a compassionate humanitarian and philanthropist who would always help those in need.
Dr. Moody’s determination to improve the lives of those around him wasn’t limited to his medical practice—he simultaneously focused his attention on combating racial injustice as well. He founded the League of Coloured Peoples in 1931 with the mission to fight for racial equality both in the U.K. and around the world. The group pushed for change, at a government level, to combat discrimination in its many forms.
Thank you, Dr. Moody, for paving the way towards a more equal future.