Planet Princeton

Civil Rights Leader Robert Moses Named Fellow at Princeton

Robert “Bob” Parris Moses, a leader in the 1960s Civil Rights Movement who later founded The Algebra Project, has been appointed the distinguished visiting fellow in the Center for African American Studies at Princeton University.

A graduate of Hamilton College, Moses will hold a one-year appointment for this academic year. This semester he will conduct scholarly research, and next semester he will co-teach a course that focuses on education and labor policies through the lens of race.

“Robert Moses has dedicated his life to expanded democratic possibility in the United States,” said Eddie Glaude, the chair of the Center for African American Studies. “He is a living example of the transformative power that resides in each of us. Our students and faculty are truly excited to have an opportunity to interact and learn from this historic figure.”

Moses joined the burgeoning sit-in movement as a field secretary for the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee in the summer of 1961, after receiving a master’s degree in philosophy from Harvard University and teaching math for three years. He initiated the coordinating committee’s Mississippi Voter Registration Project that summer, was appointed its director in 1962, and together with Medgar Evers, David Dennis and Aaron Henry, revitalized and led the Council Of Federated Organizations into the 1964 Mississippi Summer Project.

That project, known as Freedom Summer, parachuted the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party to the National Democratic Convention in Atlantic City, where Fannie Lou Hamer led the insurgency that eliminated Jim Crow from the National Democratic Party.

Moses, through a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, worked in his daughter’s eighth-grade class as a parent volunteer, where he taught algebra and initiated the Algebra Project, which uses mathematics as an organizing tool to foster a quality public school education for all students.

He is the author of two books, “Radical Equations: Math Literacy and Civil Rights” and co-editor of “Quality Education as a Constitutional Right: Creating a Grassroots Movement to Transform Public Schools”.

“Bob Moses’s presence offers our students a wonderful opportunity to understand the national significance of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee’s work using the vote to organize Mississippi sharecroppers to demand political rights,” said Glaude. “Students will equally have a chance to learn about the national significance of the Algebra Project’s and the Young Peoples Project’s work using math to organize public school students to demand educational rights. Obviously we’re excited to have him join us for the year.”

Krystal Knapp

Krystal Knapp is the founding editor of Planet Princeton. She can be reached via email at editor AT planetprinceton.com. Send all letters to the editor and press releases to that email address.

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