Rev. William Barber, the nationally renowned leader of the North Carolina NAACP responsible for the Moral Monday movement, is stepping down after more than a decade.
Barber told the Wilmington Journal he’s joining a new “national poor people’s campaign” to keep fighting poverty and social inequality.
From that story:
“I’m not going to run for another term [as president ] of the North Carolina NAACP, and I will step down in June,” the civil rights leader said Wednesday during a teleconference.
Maintaining that the NC NAACP is “…strong in our legal victories; strong in our organizational structure; strong financially and strong in the clarity of agenda…,” the civil rights leader expressed confidence that the next state president, coming from among the organization’s four vice presidents, will be up to the task.
Barber has been president of the North Carolina chapter, the largest in the South, since 2005. He led the once troubled conference into national prominence with weekly Moral Monday demonstrations at the North Carolina state legislature since 2013, and challenging the state on controversial cases of alleged racial injustice.
The key to Barber’s success was his ability to lead diverse racial and religious coalitions to demand change on issues ranging from equal education to affordable health care. Subsequently the Christian leader was invited to twenty-three states last year to do “moral revival” training, sparking Moral Monday demonstrations as far away as Chicago.
In recent years, Rev. Barber has been recognized as a key voice in the progressive movement nationally, garnering him numerous appearances on MSNBC and CNN, and stories in The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal; an address during the 2016 Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia; and the keynote sermon at Riverside Church in Harlem last month commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s April 4, 1967 “Beyond Vietnam” address.
His numerous appearances across the country gradually fueled speculation that Rev. Barber was steadily ascending to national leadership. Last Wednesday, he confirmed that he will be “following a deep calling” and “transitioning to an expansion of the work around the country.”
“We found that there is a deep hunger for a shift in our moral narrative in the nation, and I’ve been asked by a number of moral leaders and impacted persons and advocates to join with them in helping to bring some leadership, energy and unity to helping to build the Poor People’s campaign, and a national call for a moral revival. “
Rev. Barber said the campaign will focus on 25 states and the District of Columbia, with at least half of them in South, including North Carolina, culminating with the 50th anniversary of Dr. King’s 1968 Poor People’s Campaign.
“In the times in which we live, our country still needs to address the issues of systemic racism, poverty, the war economy and militarism, and our national morality,” Rev. Barber said. “We need a moral narrative.”
Barber’s term isn’t officially up until October. Though he’s stepping down early he says he’ll still sit on the national board and be part of the state conference.