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Robert Moses

Biography: 

Robert Moses (1935– ) is an educator and civil rights activist. After earning a master’s degree in philosophy at Harvard, Moses moved to the South and served as field secretary for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, working to register black voters in Mississippi as director of SNCC’s Mississippi Project. In 1961 he was a Freedom Rider, and in 1964 was the main organizer of the Freedom Summer project with the Council of Federated Organizations. His calm leadership helped SNCC navigate the threats and violence encountered in this process, including the murder of three volunteers. When SNCC became less committed to nonviolence, Moses left the organization to teach math in Tanzania. He later founded the Algebra Project, an innovative math literacy program geared for disadvantaged youth. Moses eventually returned to Harvard to complete a doctorate in philosophy, and now holds the Frank Rhodes Professorship at Cornell University.

Image: Original caption: Robert Moses, one of the leaders of the SNCC training students as part of the Mississippi Summer Project. The project aims to train students to register Black voters who had been denied the vote by discriminatory Jim Crow laws. 1964. Copyright: Steve Schapiro/Corbis.

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