Local News

Barber: 'Moral Monday' movement similar to civil rights movement

Posted January 18, 2015

— North Carolina NAACP President William Barber used the pulpit at Duke University Chapel Sunday to equate Martin Luther King Jr.’s civil rights efforts with the “Moral Monday” movement, saying the push for social equality is still needed.

"I believe we are possibly in the embryonic stages of a third reconstruction in America," said Barber, the keynote speaker at Duke’s MLK program. "And if we come together even the more, if we return to our fortresses as prisoners of hope, there's no telling what God is going to do."

More than 1,000 people were arrested during the weekly peaceful protests at the General Assembly over the past two years, where Barber and others have demonstrated their dissatisfaction with the Republican-led legislature.

Education funding, voting rights and the state's refusal to expand its Medicaid health insurance program for the poor were among many causes supporters turned out for. The protests, which involved signs and chants, would start outside the Legislative Building and end in the courtyard area outside the House and Senate chambers. Weekly turnout ranged from a few hundred to a few thousand.

Last year, a committee of lawmakers known as the Legislative Services Commission adjusted the building rules to address the "Moral Monday" protests. The rules were amended recently to allow State Capitol Police to designate specific areas of the courtyard rotunda area for specific uses.

Even with the new rules, the protests have the potential to make a difference, said Reginald Hodges of Durham, who attended Sunday’s event.

“If everyone comes together, white, black, Jews, Islam, Republican, Democrat, that everyone coming together can make a difference,” he said. “People will have to listen to what we say.”

During one “Moral Monday” protest last year, educators who came to demonstrate requested a meeting with Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger – and got one. Both sides agreed to disagree on many issues after the hour-long conversation, but it was the first time a senior legislative leader met with movement members.

With lawmakers back in session, Barber said a mass "moral march" is in the works for February.

“Our agenda is clear,” he said. “Our partner organizations are more committed than ever.”


Please with your WRAL.com account to comment on this story. You also will need a Facebook account to comment.

Oldest First
View all
  • Edison Carter Jan 20, 2015
    user avatar

    Wow, the North Carolina racist crowd is out today! Carry on, bigots: It is you that makes this state an embarrassment to the rest of the country.

  • Realthoughts Jan 19, 2015

    No, Moral Monday is about special rights not civil rights.

  • delilahk2000 Jan 19, 2015

    Barber,You are A joke..........Your moral Monday's are a joke in itself.........You do not even come close to what his marches were all about.......He would be ashamed at how some of you are using his name..............SO NO YOUR MONDAY'S ARE NOT LIKE HIS.......

  • Jeffrey Derry Jan 19, 2015
    user avatar

    no no Reverend, your movement is about give me give me and entitlement, Dr King's fight was to right a moral wrong......big difference !

  • stymieindurham Jan 19, 2015

    If they would stop FEEDING him, he would stay away!!!

  • stymieindurham Jan 19, 2015

    Yet another disgrace at Duke.
    I retired from DUKE and will never again support DUKE nor Duke Athletics. Sorry--- buy,
    their liberalism has just gotten out of hande over the last 5-10 years.

  • MaxD Jan 19, 2015

    MLK is rolling in his grave

  • euimport1 Jan 19, 2015

    forget him!

  • sinenomine Jan 19, 2015

    The Moral Monday demonstrations have little if anything to do with the civil rights movement of the 1950s and '60s. Back then blacks could not travel freely in interstate commerce (at least in the South); they were routinely denied service at public restaurants, motels, and other facilities; it required the force of arms in some cases to enroll black students in schools or universities.

    The Moral Majority movement, on the other hand, was a case of Democrats being upset because, after a century of hegemony in North Carolina politics, they couldn't stand the fact that the other party was in control, for once, of the legislature and the governor's chair simultaneously. That kind of thing is OK for Democrats but not for Republicans; that was their beef.

  • simplylindsey2010 Jan 19, 2015

    Very, very well put TIMEWILLTELL. You have echoed the sentiments I have made many a time.