As a lifelong Angeleno, Russell W. Moore was born and raised in Watts, which was a community infamously recognized as the flash point of catastrophic riots in 1965 that spearheaded an era of civil and racial uprisings of proportions never before seen in America.
An only child, Mr. Moore spent much of his formative years under the roof and supervision of his maternal grandparents, while his parents had jobs with graveyard shifts. During the late 1940s and early 1950s, his mother worked in a factory where bombs were assembled for the U.S. military, while his father drove a truck in the wholesale produce industry.
Mr. Moore is a product of the Los Angeles Unified School System where he attended elementary and secondary schools in Watts before transferring to John C. Fremont High in his sophomore year. Russell credits his mother and maternal grandmother for inspiring him to seek a productive career via a college degree. His passion for sports, especially track and field, along with baseball, goes back to childhood.
By the time Russell entered high school, he exhibited more promise as a writer/reporter than a sprinter or pitcher. Before heading off to college, he gained a modicum of recognition for his work as a sports writer with the SSA (Scholastic Sports Association), which produced feature stories and detailed results of organized high school sports competition throughout Southern California under the auspices of the former Los Angeles Herald Examiner. His work with the SSA culminated in an academic scholarship to Pepperdine University (then known as Pepperdine College) in 1962.
Shortly after the riots, and during the height of the Vietnam War, Mr. Moore took a break from college to help recruit and place high school dropouts in Job Corps training centers across America. His focus was on helping 16 – 21 year-old males escape the vices of gangs, criminality, and illiteracy that were rampant in the community. Russell resumed his studies at California State University, Los Angeles in 1967, and graduated in 1969 with a major in Sociology. By then, he had become committed to redirecting the lives of wayward and delinquent youth.
Before deciding against pursuing a career in broadcast journalism, Mr. Moore was chosen among a select group of seven aspiring journalists to spend five months in Washington D.C. as a Fall Fellow at Washington Journalism Center in 1969. The competition was nationwide. The program was designed to help the Fellows become more knowledgeable of how government works, the role of journalism in reporting national and international news, and to encourage more African Americans to seek careers in the field.
Unable to connect with a network that was sincerely dedicated to abandoning the racial barriers that were still prominent in the late 1960s, Mr. Moore found the challenges and opportunities of being a Deputy Probation Officer to his liking, and was deputized in June of 1970. Mr. Moore went on to serve an illustrious 33-year career with the Los Angeles County Probation Department, the latter 15 years as a Supervisor. In 1973, he earned a Master of Public Administration Degree from USC. A year later, he was awarded a $500 grant by the California Probation, Parole and Correctional Association for his work in preparing a research paper on the social impact of crime and poverty in Watts.
Mr. Moore received numerous accolades throughout his career for his written communication skills as they applied to the preparation of court reports, monthly unit reports, and narrative evaluations of his staff. Although he served several years supervising the activities of adult offenders, the vast majority of his time and energy was devoted to working with juveniles who came from a wide variety of societal conditions.
Married and the father of three adult children, Mr. Moore retired from the Probation Department in 2003.
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