The Baltimore Algebra Project

Sherrilyn Ifill:

was recently trying to list the 10 most encouraging initiatives by black people in 2006 and I thought I’d share one with you. It’s the Baltimore Algebra Project, a group of African American inner-city teens who’ve evolved from tutors to activists in an effort to force change in the failing Baltimore City School system. The Algebra Project, many of you may know, was created by the brilliant soft-spoken civil rights activist and organizer Robert Moses, who left the U.S. to live in Africa, in the 1960s. When Moses returned to the U.S., he became convinced that the abysmal performance of African American students in math and science are a major barrier to full citizenship and empowerment. He created a program designed to help African American students excel in math in science. There are Algebra Projects in several U.S. cities. The Baltimore Algebra Project began as a tutoring program, but the young people in the project – students at many of the city’s struggling schools – have become increasingly more activist over the past 3 years. Finally, frustrated at continuing inequities in the school system, the Project announced the launch of “Freedom Fall” [fascinating – more at Clusty] this past September. They marched on the headquarters of the school board, and in a stroke of courage and brilliance created an alternative school board, called the Freedom Board.