Here’s to Joe & Moe

by Oct 26, 2023People, South Brunswick

The Stanley brothers of Shallotte are known for community service, education, ethics and their contributions to BCC and youth basketball.

A former student from West Brunswick High School told Moe Stanley that he was successful because Moe cared about him. Yet, “There wasn’t a man on the face of the earth I hated more than I hated you,” the former student added.

Moe remembered the teen who smoked pot, sassed teachers and skipped school, but says as assistant principal he vowed to help every student succeed. When he resigned after 10 years at the post, his replacement said, “I want to be just like you. Tell me what you did.”

“The greatest achievement for me is helping shape people’s lives,” Moe says.

Moe’s brother Joe Stanley says his wife, Lynda, told him he was always volunteering, and he responded, “That’s what I’ve always done.” Receiving the StarNews Media Lifetime Achievement Award in 2018 astonished Joe. “I didn’t do things for the recognition,” he says. “I did things because we were raised like that.”

“I don’t think we’ve done anything special,” Moe adds. “We’ve done what we should be doing.”

Moe and Joe Stanley Brunswick NC

The brothers relax in their modest office at Joe & Moe’s Automotive in Shallotte wearing their signature white polo shirts and dark pants. The walls display dozens of awards, newspaper clippings and academic certificates. Soft-spoken Moe considers his words before speaking. Joe, on the other hand, has ready answers. The conversation includes serious reflections and generous amounts of laughter.

The brothers admit they were the first Black men on boards in Brunswick County — Brunswick County Literacy Council, Brunswick County Chamber of Commerce, Brunswick County Cooperative Extension, First Tee of Brunswick County, North Carolina Rural Committee, among others. They were the impetus for projects such as Youth Basketball League, which has grown to include more than 600 students. They have focused on the basketball program at Brunswick Community College for the past two years and raised $99,000.

“We are so thankful to have Moe and Joe,” says BCC Head Basketball Coach Walter Shaw. He explains the funds go toward scholarships, equipment, officials at games and travel. The squad can now attend camps where coaches recruit players. The brothers also offer mentoring. “Everyone [on the teams] since 2020 has gone on to the university level,” Shaw says.

The Stanley brothers say while growing up in segregated Shallotte, their parents emphasized to them, their older sister, Dianne, and younger brother, Elton, generosity and love of the community.

Their parents did not go to high school because transportation was not available to take them to the Black high school in Southport. Their father served in World War II but had to sit at the back of the bus when he came home.

“He legitimately could have been very angry, but we never saw that anger,” Moe says. “He and my mom never instilled anger in us.”

Joe and Moe Stanley Brunswick NC

“My father never taught us retribution,” Joe says. “We were taught to be good people first and treat human beings as human beings.”

Moe and Joe’s parents owned land in Shallotte and grew tobacco and corn and raised hogs. “But they wouldn’t keep us out of school to work the land,” Joe says.

The brothers went to Black Union High School until the Civil Rights Act of 1964 gave them the choice to go to all-White Shallotte High School. Moe chose to stay at Union while Joe transferred to Shallotte his sophomore year. “Kids called me the N word and wouldn’t let me sit next to them on the bus,” Joe says.

“The push for Blacks was church, school and home,” Moe says. “That’s where you got accepted. It created a drive, a passion, a competitiveness. You wanted to succeed.”
Brunswick Community College did not exist when the Stanley brothers entered college. Southeastern Community College in Whiteville offered Moe, a year older than Joe, a basketball scholarship, the first Black ever to receive one. A year later Joe received an academic scholarship there.

Moe transferred to Parsons College in Fairfield, Iowa, and majored in education. His teammates decided to abbreviate his birthname — Vonice Maliston — to Moe, which has remained his nickname since.

By the time he earned his degree, three high schools were built in Brunswick County, all integrated. Moe was hired as a health and physical education teacher at Shallotte Middle School. Within two years, “I was drafted into the administration,” he says, and he became assistant principal. After three years, he was asked to be assistant principal at West Brunswick High School. He then earned a master’s degree in administration from University of South Carolina.

After Southeastern, Joe played basketball at UNC-Charlotte, majoring in business administration. Upon graduation, he was hired at what is now Truist Bank. “I was the first Black male branch manager in Brunswick County,” Joe says.

Joe Stanley in the Office

“Our dad never said he wanted us to go to college,” Moe adds “He said, ‘You’ve got to do something to have a better life and better opportunity than I had.’ Our sister set the pace.”

All four siblings completed college and got full-time jobs, as did Joe’s son and daughter. Moe never married. However, Moe, 73, and Joe, 72, had other interests as well.
“We built Joe & Moe’s Automotive, and it was doing well,” Moe says. He explains as preteens, he and Joe spent time at a cousin’s garage, and he taught them to fix cars. In 1978 they erected their garage on land they bought next to the family homestead, and after their full-time jobs, they would work late at night at the garage or get up early to complete work.

Karen Ernst of Ocean Isle Beach says the Stanleys service is always good. “They are honest and very friendly and helpful,” she says.

Joe also opened a photography business and takes pictures at weddings and school sports games. They give students a discount at their shop.

“The greatest achievement is giving back to the community,” Moe says. “When you give back, you also help yourself.”

Meet Joe and Moe
Joe & Moe’s Automotive
5651 Main Street, Shallotte
(910) 754-8318 or (910) 232-2394

Joe Stanley Photography, (910) 754-5554, jokstan@hotmail.com