Our Beloved Community focus this week celebrates the Rev. Dr. William Barber II. Rev. Dr. Barber is a minister ordained in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). He was born in Indianapolis, Indiana on August 30, 1963 (two days after the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom). His parents chose to move back to his father’s hometown in Washington County, North Carolina — an area still deeply segregated at that time — with the purpose of helping to build a “New South”. His father became the first African American teacher in the county’s white high school and his mother the first African American office manager at the same school. “That change-agent spirit and desire to improve the broader community [through inclusive change] drives Barber’s activism. ‘I grew up under the tutelage of not understanding how to be a Christian without being concerned about justice and the larger community,’ he says” (https://www.breachrepairers.org/bishop-william-j-barber-ii)
Rev. Dr. Barber earned a bachelor’s degree from North Carolina Central University, a historically Black university in Durham, North Carolina. He earned a Master of Divinity degree from Duke University and a doctorate in Public Policy and Pastoral Care from Drew University. He has also had ten honorary degrees conferred upon him.
Rev. Dr. Barber served as president of the North Carolina NAACP for eleven years. He was the leader of the Forward Together Moral Movement that held Moral Monday protests at the North Carolina General Assembly in dissent to voter suppression. He created Repairers of the Breach in 2015 to train communities and leaders in moral movement building and continues as the organization’s President and Senior Lecturer. In 2018, he co-led the relaunching of the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival and continues to co-lead the movement. It is a renewal of the 1968 Poor People’s Campaign organized by the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Rev. Dr. Barber is also a Bishop with The Fellowship of Affirming Ministries.
This January Rev. Dr. Barber retired from a 30-year pastorate at Greenleaf Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Goldsboro, NC to serve as Professor in the Practice of Public Theology and Public Policy and as the Founding Director of the Center for Public Theology and Public Policy at Yale Divinity School.
Rev Dr. Barber seeks an inclusive change that unites people across race, religion, ethnicity, creed, gender identity, and sexual orientation and that is rooted in the ethical and moral treatment of people.
Rev. Dr. Barber is a highly sought out preacher and speaker. He has preached at several General Assemblies of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). Among many other public addresses, he spoke at the 2016 Democratic National Convention and gave the homily at the 59th Inaugural Prayer Service for President Biden and Vice President Harris.
Here he is in his own words in an interview when he received the 2018 MacArther Foundation Genius Award.
Bios & Articles:
“Dr. Rev. William Barber II,” Americans Who Tell the Truth
Repairers of the Breach (includes video)
“After remembrance of Bloody Sunday, the Poor People’s Campaign to lead first day of March of Re-commitment from Selma to Montgomery”, The Poor People’s Campaign
“We Won’t Back Down!” | Bishop William J. Barber, II – June 30th, 2022 – Just moments before almost 200 are arrested near the Supreme Court in Washington, DC for demanding that lawmakers protect and expand a woman’s right to choose, Bishop William J. Barber, II addresses the protestors with inspiring remarks.
2019 General Assembly of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) Sermon at the closing worship
Sign the Open Letter from Repairers of the Breach
Selma is sacred ground, not a place for political pretense.
Sign our open letter to President Biden and Members of Congress calling for an action-rooted
Commemoration of Bloody Sunday. We demand action on Voting Rights, Living Wages, Rural Economic Investment.
“If the President or other politicians are going to come to Selma, they should come on Bloody Sunday, when Joh Lewis and others were beaten and almost killed, to declare that the fight for voting rights and the restoration of what they marched across that bridge for is not over.”