Black ExperienceBlack HistoryObituaryStacy M. Brown

Bob Moses, Civil Rights Legend, Dead at 86

Bob Moses, one of America’s foremost civil rights leaders who stood fearless in the face of violence to register African American voters in the South, has died. He was 86.

His daughter, Maisha Moses, announced his death.

Often clad in denim overalls, Moses drew comparisons to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Although minorities and the oppressed hailed Moses as a pioneer, his activism often fueled the ire of white supremacists.

Moses famously credited Ella Baker of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference as a source of inspiration.

“He exemplified putting community interests above ego and personal interest,” NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson told the New York Times. “If you look at his work, he was always pushing local leadership first.”

Born on Jan. 23, 1935, in New York City’s Harlem neighborhood, Moses became a schoolteacher before moving to Mississippi where he quickly organized civil rights activists to counter actions by the Ku Klux Klan and other hate groups.

Despite the violence that African Americans routinely faced when trying to vote, Moses helped register thousands of voters. He also trained countless organizers inside the walls of so-called “freedom schools” to carry out the mission of civil rights.

During one encounter with white supremacists, Moses suffered a severe head injury that required nine stitches.

While bloodied, bruised and nearly unconscious, he still successfully led a group to a Mississippi courthouse to register them to vote.

At age 73, Moses told CNN that prior to Barack Obama becoming president in 2008, he had not voted for a president in three decades.

“I don’t do politics, but I made sure to vote this time,” Moses said. “Obama is the first person I really felt moved to vote for.”

Stacy M. Brown

I’ve worked for the Daily News of Los Angeles, the L.A. Times, Gannet and the Times-Tribune and have contributed to the Pocono Record, the New York Post and the New York Times. Television news opportunities have included: NBC, MSNBC, Scarborough Country, the Abrams Report, Today, Good Morning America, NBC Nightly News, Imus in the Morning and Anderson Cooper 360. Radio programs like the Wendy Williams Experience, Tom Joyner Morning Show and the Howard Stern Show have also provided me the chance to share my views.

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