So reading this started the post-election waterworks all over again for me:
Some, like Kennedy [Peggy Wallace Kennedy, daughter of George Wallace] and an entire generation of white Southerners, risked social rejection for renouncing the bigotry of their parents. Others risked their lives while leading civil rights campaigns in the Deep South. Some almost lost their belief in the inherent goodness of America because they saw so many innocent people die.
They are people like Bob Moses, who led African-American voter registration drives in Mississippi during the early 1960s. 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 1964 Democratic National Convention, which was segregated.
Moses grew so disenchanted by his experiences that he moved to Tanzania. He returned to the United States in 1976 and founded the Algebra Project, a national program that encourages African-American students to attend college by first teaching them mathematical literacy.
"We seem to be evolving..., " Moses says. "The country is trying to reach for the best part of itself."
Moses is evolving as well. Obama is the first president he's voted for in three decades, he says.
"I don't do politics, but I made sure to vote this time," says Moses, now 73 years old. "Obama is the first person I really felt moved to vote for."
Moses says he is amazed that Obama has helped lead the country through a racially transformative moment without anyone getting killed.
Pivotal events in America's racial history -- the debate over slavery, the assault on segregation -- sparked widespread violence, Moses says.
"I don't think people appreciate how delicate it is to move the society around these questions without descent into chaos or into pockets of chaos," he says.
Obama's victory also offered a rare public acknowledgement for Moses. He recently attended an Obama rally when Obama -- a keen student of the civil rights movement -- discovered he was in the audience.
"When he got on the platform, he gave me a shout out," says Moses, whose reluctance to be in the spotlight was notorious among his civil rights colleagues. "He said, 'there's someone in the audience, and he's a hero of mine.' "
Moses paused when asked how it felt.
"It was good."