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Bob Moses, civil rights legend, died aged 86

The cause of death was not immediately known.

Moses was born in New York City in January 1935 and raised in Harlem, according to his biography in the King Encyclopedia of Civil Rights Encyclopedia at Stanford University. He received a master’s degree in philosophy from Harvard University in 1957.

In the late 1950s he began working on the civil rights movement, joining the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and traveling with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee.

Moses was the architect of the 1964 voter registration campaign, the Mississippi Freedom Summer Project, among several other civil rights projects.

He was a leader of the Mississippi Nonviolent Student Coordinating Committee when three civil rights activists were murdered by a group of men that included a Mississippi deputy sheriff. He also helped lead an unsuccessful attempt to seat African-American delegates from Mississippi at the 1964 Democratic National Convention.

Moses also campaigned against the Vietnam War, linking his opposition to the war to the struggle for civil rights, according to Stanford’s King Encyclopedia. He even took time off from the SNCC to avoid criticism from his colleagues who did not support his position as his involvement in the anti-war movement increased.

Deprived of conscientious objector status, Moses moved to Canada to avoid conscription. Moses became so disenchanted with his experiences that he moved to Tanzania in the late 1960s, where he taught mathematics. He returned to the United States in 1976 following the amnesty program created by President Jimmy Carter.
In 1982 he was appointed a member of the MacArthur Foundation. He used his scholarship to create Project Algebra, a national program that encourages African-American students to attend college by teaching them math literacy first.
The Algebra Project released a statement following the news of Moses’ death.

“His transition to this next level only inspires us all to love, strive and live with and for our people as he has, as we continue to work to achieve Bob’s vision of ‘raising the bar. math literacy “for all young people in the United States of America,” he said.

When he was 73, Moses told CNN he had not voted for a president in three decades until 2008 for President Barack Obama.

“I’m not in politics, but I made sure to vote this time,” Moses said. “Obama is the first person I felt really compelled to vote for.”

Obama called Moses a hero, Moses recalled, recounting an Obama rally he attended where the former president found out he was in the audience.

“When he got on the platform he shouted at me,” said Moses, whose reluctance to be in the spotlight was notorious among his civil rights colleagues. “He said, ‘there’s someone in the audience, and he’s one of my heroes.'”

“Bob Moses was a giant, a strategist at the heart of the civil rights movement,” Johnson said in a statement on Sunday. “Through his life’s work, he steered the arc of the moral universe towards justice, making our world a better place. He fought for our right to vote, our most sacred right. “

“He knew that justice, freedom and democracy was not a state, but an ongoing struggle. May his light continue to guide us as we face a new wave of Jim Crow laws. His example is more important. than ever, ”the statement continued. .

CNN has contacted the family for more information on his death.

CNN’s John Blake, Dianne Gallagher and Hollie Silverman contributed to this report.


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