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Personal Profile of Dr. Robert Moses

Dr. Robert Moses
Biography

Robert (Bob) Parris Moses grew up in Harlem, attended Stuyvesant High School (1952), Hamilton College (BA, 1956), and Harvard University (MA Philosophy, 1957), and taught middle school math for three years (Horace Mann School, NY) before traveling South in the summer of 1961 to join the burgeoning sit-in movement as a field secretary for the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC).

He initiated SNCC’s Mississippi Voter Registration Project that summer, was appointed its director in 1962 and, together with Medgar Evers (NAACP), David Dennis (CORE), and Aaron Henry (SCLC), revitalized and led the Council Of Federated Organizations (COFO) into the Mississippi Summer Project (1964 Freedom Summer), which parachuted the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP) to the National Democratic Convention in Atlantic City, where Fannie Lou Hamer led the MFDP insurgency, which eliminated Jim Crow from the National Democratic Party.

When Moses turned 18 in the middle of his freshman year at Hamilton, he petitioned his Harlem based draft board for Conscientious Objection (CO) to war. He was granted student deferment status through his Hamilton, Harvard, and Horace Mann years, but, soon after joining SNCC, he was denied CO status at a hearing in 1961. A speaker at the first national student rally against the war in Vietnam (organized by Students for a Democratic Society, SDS, Spring 1965), he: joined Staughton Lynd, Dave Dellinger, and Women’s Strike For Peace to organize The Congress of Unrepresented People (summer 1965), spoke out against the war (1965-’66), and left the country (August 1966) when ordered to report to the Army. He and his wife, Janet Jemmott, made their way to Tanzania, where they served as teachers for its Ministry of Education until 1976.

He and Janet returned to the States with their family (Maisha, Omo, Taba and Malika), and Bob returned to Harvard’s PhD Philosophy program in the summer of ’76 to study W.V.O. Quine’s philosophy of mathematics. While Janet worked with the children on their language arts, Bob organized their mathematics education and used a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship (1982-87) to: enter their school as a parent volunteer, teach Maisha algebra, and initiate the Algebra Project and the use of mathematics as an organizing tool for a Quality Public School Education (QECR) for all students. Cf: Radical Equations—Civil Rights from Mississippi to the Algebra Project (Beacon, 2001); Quality Education as a Constitutional Right-creating a grassroots movement to transform public schools (Beacon Press, 2010)

"Photo credit: Michael Lisnet, Math for America"

Current/Future Committee Membership
Name Office Start Date End Date
Educational Advisory Committee Mar 01, 2008 Mar 01, 2015

Past Committee Membership
Name Office Start Date End Date
Educational Advisory Committee May 15, 2003 Mar 01, 2008
  1. Workshop Raising the floor: Progress and setbacks in the struggle for quality mathematics education for all

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    May 07, 2006
    Sunday
    07:30 PM - 08:15 PM
      The Algebra Project
    Robert Moses (The Algebra Project)
    08:15 PM - 08:40 PM
      Discussion/Open Mic
    Robert Moses (The Algebra Project)
    May 09, 2006
    Tuesday
    03:30 PM - 04:15 PM
      The Young Peoples' Project, the Algebra Project, and the Flagway Game Campaign
    Robert Moses (The Algebra Project)
  2. Workshop Assessing Students’ Mathematics Learning: Issues, Costs and Benefits

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    Mar 07, 2004
    Sunday
    02:00 PM - 04:00 PM
      Crucial Contemporary Social, Political and Cultural Issues in Mathematics Assessment in the U.S. (part 1)
    Robert Moses (The Algebra Project)
    02:00 PM - 04:00 PM
      Crucial Contemporary Social, Political and Cultural Issues in Mathematics Assessment in the U.S. (part 2)
    Robert Moses (The Algebra Project), Judith Ramaley