This article analyzes the unique impact of civil rights organizing — in the spirit of Ella Baker — on the grassroots effort of a community activist parent, Robert Moses. Moses, who is also a mathematician, argues that all children should have access to the college preparatory mathematics curriculum of the high schools, and that children without access to such programs are barred from acquiring the knowledge and skills necessary for participation in an economy driven by rapid technological change. In this article, the authors describe the interaction among parents, students, and teachers engaged in The Algebra Project, a seven-year ongoing effort to establish a pedagogy of mathematics that expects, encourages, and supports every student to study algebra at the middle-school level.

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