A Remembrance

I once met Robert Moses who led the voting rights drive in the delta region of Mississippi. He was no longer a civil rights leader in the strict sense by that time.

Instead, he was working on getting young African American kids interested in mathematics.

In the Sixties, Bob Moses had left his graduate philosophy program at Harvard to join the Southern Movement for Civil Rights.

Yet, unlike many other leaders of the time, Moses took the concept of “direct action” as a serious personal commitment. He and his fellow members of SNCC went into the Delta often living with its residents in efforts to overcome the well-placed obstacles to the right to vote. Wikipedia tells me that Robert Parris Moses was 86 years old.

And that the Freedom Summer was in 1964, a single year before Robert Moses would turn the age of 30.

Now, we see the uncertain aftermath ofthe 2020 Election, over fifty-five years after the Voting Rights Act was enacted, and more than 150 years after the adoption of the Fifteenth Amendment.

This was the last of the triad of Reconstruction Amendments intended to secure the blessings of liberty to newly freed slaves — indeed to all Americans.

Yet, nearly a century later, young Bob Moses and his colleagues risked the violence waiting in the Mississippi delta to assure the unfettered right to vote.

I remember the look in his gentle eyes when I met him. Still slightly wary. Still on guard. It was the look of someone who had once been in danger but who yet braved it for a greater purpose.

Now, as uncertainty and doubts fill our hearts on this road toward a more perfect Union, please remember Robert Moses. Now, because of Robert Parris Moses, we have to vote.

-Albert Turner Goins