(Mar. 21, 1951-Apr. 18, 2018). Wilma Gibbs Moore, the daughter of William Joseph and Tessie Arlene Gibbs, was born in Indianapolis and grew up on the northwest side. She had five sisters and one brother. 

Educated in the Indianapolis Public Schools, she graduated from Crispus Attucks High School in 1969. She received a bachelor’s degree in sociology (1973) and a master’s degree in library and information science (1974) from Indiana University. Moore married Larry Moore in 2005, and she had two daughters—Johari Miller Wilson and Jamila Mamuya.

Moore began her career working for the Indianapolis Public Library in 1977. In 1983, she went to work at Indiana University (IU) as the residence halls librarian. Moore left her full-time position at IU in 1986 to begin a 30-year career as an archivist of the African American history collection at the Indiana Historical Society

Moore raised consciousness about the contributions of African Americans in Indiana. Well-known in the African American community as well as among local historians and history professionals, she wrote numerous articles about African American history in Indiana and served as the editor of Black History News and Notes from 1986-2007. In 2007, this publication became a regular part of Traces magazine. Moore continued to serve as its editor and to write for it until her retirement. She also gave numerous presentations throughout Indiana and nearby states and served as a mentor to many students and colleagues.

Moore received numerous awards, including the Phyllis Wheatley Award from the Indianapolis YWCA in 1997, the inaugural Jasmine Robinson Pioneer Award (Wabash College) in 2007, and an Award of Merit from the American Association for State and Local History (AASLH) in 2016.

Moore is credited with bringing many significant collections that document Indiana’s Black heritage to the Indiana Historical Society. The organization honored her with the Eli Lilly Lifetime Achievement Award recognizing her significant contributions and efforts to enrich history in 2017. The Wilma Gibbs Moore Graduate Endowed Scholarship was established in 2018 to provide support to students from underrepresented backgrounds to pursue a degree in library and information science.

Revised August 2021

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