Moses, Robert Parris


"During the late 1950s Moses became increasingly interested in the civil rights struggle. In 1959 he helped Bayard Rustin with the second Youth March for Integrated Schools in Washington, D.C. Although he was willing to stuff envelopes along with other office volunteers, Rustin encouraged him to do more, suggesting in 1960 that he use his summer teaching break to go to Atlanta and work with King and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). In Atlanta, Moses volunteered to travel on behalf of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Council (SNCC)--then a nascent student organization sharing offices with SCLC--on a recruiting tour of Louisiana, Alabama, and Mississippi, where he met local National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) activist Amzie Moore. At Moore's request, Moses returned to Mississippi in 1961 to work on voter registration. Initially just a volunteer, Moses quickly joined SNCC's staff of three as the special field secretary for voter registration based in McComb, Mississippi. The following year he was named the co-director of the Council of Federated Organizations, a cooperative of civil rights groups in the state...Moses developed the idea for the 1964 Mississippi Freedom Summer Project, which recruited northern college students to join Mississippi blacks conducting a grassroots voter registration drive. When local blacks were excluded from participating in the all-white "regular" Democratic Party, Moses suggested creating the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP), which sought recognition as the representative delegation from Mississippi at the Democratic National Convention of 1964...Moses resigned from COFO in late 1964."--"Moses, Robert Parris Moses (1935-)," King Encyclopedia, retrieved March 17, 2008.

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