Civil rights legend Bob Moses died at age 86, according to a statement from NAACP President Derrick Johnson and a statement from the organization’s Legal Defense Fund.
A cause of death was not immediately known.
Moses was born in New York City in January 1935 and grew up in Harlem, according to his biography on Stanford University’s King Encyclopedia of civil rights figures. He earned a master’s degree in philosophy from Harvard University in 1957.
In the late 1950’s he began working on the civil rights movement, joining the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and traveling with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee.
Moses was the architect of the 1964 voter registration campaign, the Mississippi Freedom Summer Project, among several other civil rights projects.
He was a leader in the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee in Mississippi when three civil rights workers were murdered by a group of men that included a Mississippi deputy sheriff. He also helped lead an ill-fated attempt to sit African-American delegates from Mississippi at the segregated 1964 Democratic National Convention.
Moses grew so disenchanted by his experiences that he moved to Tanzania, where he taught mathematics. He returned to the United States in 1976 and in 1982, he was named a MacArthur Foundation Fellow.
He used his fellowship to create the Algebra Project, a national program that encourages African-American students to attend college by first teaching them mathematical literacy.
“Bob Moses was a giant, a strategist at the core of the civil rights movement,” Johnson said in the statement released Sunday. “Through his life’s work, he bent the arc of the moral universe towards justice, making our world a better place. He fought for our right to vote, our most sacred right.”
“He knew that justice, freedom and democracy were not a state, but an ongoing struggle. So may his light continue to guide us as we face another wave of Jim Crow Laws. His example is more important now than ever,” the statement continued.
CNN reached out to the family for more information on his death.
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