Civil Rights leader chosen as keynote

As a part of Allegheny College’s Year of Voting Rights and Democratic Participation, Robert P. Moses will speak to the campus community at 7 p.m. on Monday, March 30 in Ford Chapel. The Year of Voting Rights is in honor of 2015, marking the 50th anniversary of the passing of the Voting Rights Act. Moses’ presentation is a keynote speech for the year.

Moses is most widely recognized for his work as a civil rights activist in the 1960s Civil Rights Movement. During that time he worked for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) which was a student founded group that organized sit-ins and other forms of protests. Moses was one of the first civil rights leaders in Mississippi where he organized voter registration efforts in 1961.

Heather Bosau, ’17, is a fellow for Allegheny’s Center for Political Participation and has been involved in the efforts to bring Moses to campus. “It’s been a whole community effort to bring him here,” said Bosau.

“We’ve still kind of been at the forefront but there have been a whole lot of other people like the President’s office is involved and Dave Roncaloto’s office apparently has played a really big role since he’s done a lot with education policy,” said Bosau.

The fellows worked to raise awareness for Moses’ visit and his accomplishments on campus, as well as try to encourage students to take advantage of the events during the day leading up to his presentation in Ford Chapel.

Hanna Herbert, ’15, is also a fellow for the CPP and she will be working at the event to help usher and ensure the event runs smoothly. Herbert will be attending the other events earlier in the day where Moses will be speaking with students and faculty or participating in interviews with writers from the Robert H. Jackson Center.

“I’ve heard that he’s a really great speaker to begin with so I think he’ll be very enthusiastic to be here and very enthusiastic about what he’s talking about,” said Herbert. “He’s a major civil rights figure and he also is involved in a math learning program, the Algebra Project, which I think will bring a new dimension to this year’s theme.”

In 1982, Moses used the MacArthur Fellowship Award he received to start the Algebra Project, a nonprofit organization with a national mission to improve children’s mathematical skills.

The project specifically targets middle schools and high schools in low income areas, both urban and rural. It began in Cambridge, MA with just one school but now is involved with schools in eight states.

Kayla Greer, ’17, is excited to go to the presentation with her class. “I have to go for one of my classes but I’m also really looking forward to it. It sounds like it’s going to be really interesting,” said Greer.