Harold Moody, and his younger brother, Ronald, were just two members of one of Jamaica's many remarkable families. I first found references to their father, Charles Ernest Moody (or Moodie, according to taste!), 30 years ago when I was doing research on Dr J Robert Love, the great Black politician and journalist. In the early 1890s Moody was well-established with his Union Drug Store at 29½ West Parade (Charles Moodie, tobacconist, 100 Barry Street, was listed in 1878), and later he became one of the agents selling Love's paper the Jamaica Advocate. I have a very clear recollection (though I cannot so far locate the documentary source) of Robert Love writing about stopping by at the drug store and talking politics, and other matters, with Moody. However in 1897 Moody wrote to the Gleaner to refute the charge, which had been made at a City Council meeting,
'That one of the Inspectors of Nuisance sat in Moodie's office on the
Parade for two or three hours every day, reading newspapers and
Daily Gleaner, June 4, 1897
during his working hours - though after work was different matter. This clearly suggests that Moody's Drug Store, like John Soulette's Watchmaker's store at Amen Corner, Water Lane and Church Street, was a venue for discussions of Jamaican politics.
Some items about the Moody family that I have seen on the Internet refer to it as 'a prominent professional family', 'a well-to-do family' and to C E Moody as 'a prosperous retail chemist'; these descriptions are, I think, misleading. Unfortunately I have so far been unable to find any information on C E Moody's parentage or family background, but if he ran true to the form of other aspiring Black men of the period he came from a family of country school teachers and/or 'peasant' farmers. These families tried to get the best possible education for their children who could then move into good professional and commercial situations. Often the route taken, as in Moody's case, was to train as a dispenser, often with a local doctor at first, and then in the next generation the sons became doctors; this is a recurring story.
At the time of Charles Moody's death the Gleaner report contained these sentences -
'From small beginnings, and on strictly Christian principles, Mr. Moody
with the co-operation of a thoroughly capable and devoted wife, built
up a thriving business as a druggist and dispensing chemist....These notes
however would be most incomplete were no reference made in them to
the truly noble and self-sacrificing efforts made by Mr. and Mrs. Moody
in the upbringing and educating of their children.'
Daily Gleaner, June 14, 1920
These comments give a better assessment of the true nature of the Moody family's situation than the casual assumption of a 'well-off professional family'.
For more on Dr Harold Moody more on the Moody family>>>
check the links below: