Joe Biden

Statement on the Death of Robert P. Moses

July 26, 2021

Speaking in the spring of 1964 about his plans for Freedom Summer, Bob Moses summed up the heroic effort to register Black voters in the Deep South with a question: "What kind of society will we be?" Throughout his remarkable life, Bob devoted his heart and soul to lead, teach, and organize generations of Americans to answer that question by making real the promise of our Nation: that we are all created equal and deserve to be treated equally throughout our lives.

He did so with uncommon grace, calm, and humility despite every bullet, arrest, and unrelenting brutality he faced. The violent and murderous response to the Freedom Summer he organized helped galvanize support for the landmark Voting Rights Act of 1965. A celebrated educator by training and by heart, he understood education is a great equalizer and helped countless students, and our Nation, realize their dreams and full potential.

From the polling stations of Mississippi and in classrooms of our Nation, Bob always showed up and never, ever gave in. In his memory, let us continue his unfinished work and answer the question he asked us once before: to be a society that delivers on the promise of this Nation.

With attacks on the right to vote unseen since the days of the Jim Crow system Bob helped to dismantle, I call on Congress again to pass the For the People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. Let us build the coalition of Americans of every race and background that he once formed to meet the urgency of the moment. And let us follow his towering legacy and ensure every American is treated with the dignity and respect they deserve.

Jill and I send our love and prayers to Bob's wife Janet, their four children, and their seven grandchildren. May God bless Bob Moses.

Joseph R. Biden, Statement on the Death of Robert P. Moses Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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