Bob Moses died this week. In memoriam, we repost our interview with him from February 2020. The Algebra Project founder and president–and lead organizer of the famous 1964 Mississippi Freedom Summer voting rights campaign–talked about math literacy as an organizing tool to guarantee quality public school education for all children. He described the Algebra Project’s strategies to connect math to students’ life experiences and everyday language.


00:00-1:15 Introductions

01:15-15:05 Math literacy as an organizing tool; experiential learning; Willard Van Orman Quill’s “regimented language”

15:05-16:45 Literacy across the curriculum

16:45-20:35 Logistics of working with schools

20:35-25:53 Bottom up movement; involving students and parents

25:49-32:07 Funding as a critical issue: District 13 in Brooklyn, Miami/Broward County; need for direct federal investment

32:07-48:15 Quality education as a Constitutional right; Who are “We, the People?”; Circular 3591; Douglas Blackmon, Slavery by another name; equitable funding

48:15-50:12 STEM funding, National Science Foundation (NSF)

50:12-43:39 Establishing math literacy and educational quality as a Constitutional right

43:39-55:37 Next Gen curriculum; math texts become obsolete as soon as they are printed

55:37-1:02:57 Flagway game/sport

1:02:57-1:10:07 Relationship of Algebra Project to Culturally Responsive and Sustaining Framework; fundamental metaphors and concepts that can anchor math education

1:10:07-1:15:25 Nicholas Lemann’s “Transaction Man”; coming together at the intersection of different interests around a common problem; Math Literacy Institute at University of Ohio, Mansfield

1:15:25-1:17:17 Calling attention to the need for a national approach

1:17:17 Outro


Click here to see the full transcript of this episode. 



Soundtrack by Poddington Bear