Marat Moore, the daughter of Bert and Geraldine Moore, was born in Johnson City, Tennessee. She attended public schools in Johnson City and graduated from Science Hill High School in 1972. She continued her education at Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, where she graduated in 1977 with a major in English.
In 1975 and 1976, Moore worked as a reporter for the Johnson City Press-Chronicle. It was while working for the Press-Chronicle that she first went to the coal mines to cover the 1976 Scotia mine disaster in Letcher County, Kentucky. This experience sparked her interest in the people who work in the mines. Shortly thereafter, she worked for two years as a VISTA volunteer in Minga County, West Virginia. Moore then went to work as a miner in the United States Steel No. 20 mine in Thacker, West Virginia for approximately seven months.
Her experiences at Scotia as a VISTA volunteer and as a miner inspired Moore to learn more about women in coal mining. After leaving the mines, she worked as a freelance writer and photographer while continuing her research on women coal miners. In 1983, she moved to Washington, D. C. to assume her present position as writer and photographer for The United Mine Workers of America.