Robert Parris Moses: born January 23, 1935, Harlem, New York / died July 25, 2021, Hollywood, Florida
Bob would drive down to New Orleans from Jackson, Mississippi. The 200 mile trip took roughly three hours, more or less depending on how crazy you drove.
Bob had been a field secretary with SNCC. I was a veteran of the Free Southern Theatre.
Moses was the founder of the Algebra Project. A math literacy program. I was an early stalwart and teacher with Students at the Center, a writing program. We both worked with high school students.
At one point Moses would come down once a week–if I remember correctly it was on Wednesday afternoons. For us veterans of the Civil Rights movement, “education for liberation” was our theme.
Meeting with students and parents, finding innovative ways to teach, that’s what we were about. It’s slow, painstaking work. You can’t rush it, or as the saying goes, you can only travel as fast as the slowest person.
Me, I had a big mouth. Bob was soft spoken–but he didn’t take no shit, would quietly let you know when you weren’t keeping up with the promises you had made to our collective and to yourself.
I learned a lot from Mr. Moses. Mainly how to slow my roll, take my time, and exhibit endless patience with others. After all, in one field or another, we all were babies, all of us have a lot to learn.
Bob was a learned man who asked us questions much more than he lectured.
When I heard he made his transition, my first thought was how much I would miss his steady keeping on. My second thought was I could hear my train a coming off in the distance, rolling my way. But before it arrives, I want to shout out Bob Moses, a man dedicated to the people, especially young people.
What do you think?
Socrates ain’t had nothing on Mr. Moses.