The moniker “civil-rights leader,” which appeared in some of the headlines noting the passing of Bob Moses on Sunday, at the age of eighty-six, is literally accurate: he was one of the most important figures in the civil-rights movement during its peak period, in the middle years of the nineteen-sixties. But one should not get the impression that Moses was a stentorian, march-leading type. He had a kind of reverse charisma. He came across as not just quiet but almost painfully shy. He had studied both the Quaker and Buddhist traditions, and he’d sometimes take the podium in front of a room full of people and say nothing, for an uncomfortably long time, as a way of showing that he was there to listen, not just to be heard. It’s impossible to imagine him running for office, as so many of his peers in the movement did. He was closer to being a sacred mystic than he was a politician.