NC NAACP leader seeks to take 'Moral Monday' movement nationwide
Posted May 15
RALEIGH, N.C. — The Rev. William Barber said Monday he plans to take his push for social justice nationwide after leaving North Carolina's chapter of the NAACP.
Barber has served as president of the state NAACP for a dozen years, and under his leadership, the chapter has grown into the largest in the South and the second largest in the country.
Upon his departure in June, he will become president of a national group called Repairers of the Breach, which is launching what they call the Poor People's Campaign. They said the effort is a continuation of a similar campaign Martin Luther King Jr. started before his death in 1968.
Repairers of the Breach seeks a moral revolution in politics that's based on the scriptural teachings of the New Testament to care for the "least of these," Barber said.
"Our work is not over here in North Carolina, but as you know, extremism is at work in other states and has gained power in all three branches of our federal government, much as it did here four years ago," he said. "This moment requires us to push into the national consciousness, not from the top down but from the bottom up."
More than 20 speakers lined up Monday to praise Barber's work with the NAACP and to pledge to stand with him as he moves to the national stage.
Rev. Nancy Petty, pastor of Pullen Memorial Baptist Church in Raleigh, said Barber will take with him the support and thanks of all the groups he brought together under his "Moral Monday" movement.
"When you made your announcement that you would be stepping down as the NAACP president, one of the critics of the movement said this, he said, 'I just wish Rev. Barber would have been a negotiator rather than an agitator,'" Petty said. "Rev. Barber, we're sending you into the world to be an agitator."
The Poor People's Campaign will be organized in 25 states and Washington, D.C.
One of the North Carolina NAACP's vice presidents will likely step in as acting president until the group holds its next election in October.
"We is the most important word in the justice vocabulary – not what I did but what we did together," Barber said.
The 53-year-old Barber will remain on the NAACP's national board of directors and will remain as pastor of Greenleaf Christian Church in Goldsboro. He will also be a distinguished visiting professor of public theology at Union Theological Seminary in New York.
"It is critical that we train up a young group of clergy who understand their role is not to be chaplains of Caesar but prophets of Christ," he said.