YMCA administrator, educator and civic leader Alonzo Paul Moss was born May 16, 1911 as the sixth of seven sons and one daughter born to strict iron worker, Robert Moss and his wife Ida Byrd Moss in Springfield, Ohio. Moss attended Fulton Elementary School, Central Junior High School and Springfield High School where he was a star athlete and honor student. Moss graduated from West Virginia’s Bluefield Teachers College in 1935.
Moss returned to Springfield in 1936, was married and started working for the Center Street YMCA, a place he attended as a youth. In seventeen years with the Springfield YMCA, Moss rose to branch executive, raising $300,000.00 for a new facility, which opened in 1950. A Springfield community leader, Moss sang bass in the Second Baptist Chorus with Coretta Scott (King) then a student at nearby Antioch College, (Rear Admiral) Benjamin Thurman Hacker, then a student at Wittenberg University, Gertrude Carter, and Prof. Charles Wallace. He knew boxing champion Davey Moore, musician Johnny Lytle and mentored young Crud Ayers, the father of future NBA coach, Randy Ayers.
In 1960, in order to revive East Baltimore’s YMCA’s, the national office of the YMCA recruited Moss. He expanded programs at Cherry Hill and Turner Station and as camp director, founded Camp King’s Landing and helped form the King’s Landing Mother’s Club. That club founded the city’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Breakfast in 1968.
Integrating and supervising five county branches, Moss also served for 16 years on the Baltimore Department of City Services Advisory Board, the Maryland Food Bank, and for more than a decade on the University of Maryland Board of Regents. After retirement, Moss coordinated community programs for the Community College of Baltimore and volunteered in local prisons.
Moss’ first wife, Evelyn, died in an accident on the Pennsylvania Turnpike shortly after moving to Baltimore. Their son, Michael Moss, is a college athletic administrator. Moss married Elizabeth (Bettye) Murphy Phillips of the Afro-American in 1963 and helped raise three more children. Honored by Alpha Phi Alpha and community leaders in Springfield and Baltimore, Moss, now lives in Ellicott City, Maryland. Moss passed away on September 9, 2010.
Moss was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on June 10, 2004.