The Reverend Barber Is Leaving the N.C. NAACP, But He’ll Still March When We Need Him | North Carolina | Indy Week
Pin It

The Reverend Barber Is Leaving the N.C. NAACP, But He’ll Still March When We Need Him 

The Reverend William Barber II at the first Moral Monday of 2014

photo by Justin Cook

The Reverend William Barber II at the first Moral Monday of 2014

More than a hundred people converged on the Davie Street Presbyterian Church in Raleigh Monday morning to pay their respects to the Reverend William J. Barber II, the local civil rights icon and progenitor of the Moral Mondays movement who announced late last week that he would be stepping down as the leader of the North Carolina NAACP after twelve years.

It was a big crowd for a press conference, and it quickly took on a celebratory mood. Moments before the event began, the U.S. Supreme Court announced that it had declined to hear a challenge to a federal appeals ruling last year that struck down numerous provisions of the North Carolina voting law enacted by the Republican legislature in 2013. The appeals court ruled that the law—which included voter ID requirements, shortened early voting periods, and eliminated same-day registration—had been passed with "discriminatory intent" and "targeted African Americans with almost surgical precision."

Barber and the NAACP had been on the front lines pushing back. And the reverend, who despite his larger-than-life persona is known for deflecting adoration, seized the moment. This victory, he told those assembled, was worth savoring.

As the news was delivered, he rose to his feet, lifting his arms and calling for those who turned out to honor him to honor one another for standing up to the lawmakers who attempted to limit their rights. Nearly an hour later, when he addressed those in attendance—after more than a dozen friends, colleagues, and faith leaders praised him—he told them that his new path wasn't about William Barber but rather picking up where those whose "shoulders we stand on" left off.

Barber's decision to step down from the NAACP post was, he said, his answer to a call from God to organize a revived "Poor People's Campaign"—echoing Martin Luther King Jr.'s movement of 1968—and "breathe new fire and energy into the torch of justice" lit a half-century ago.

"This is not a commemoration," he said. "We're not doing this for one year and quit. This is a launching. This is the beginning of a movement to shift the national moral narrative. This is bigger than Donald Trump, because he and his election ... are a symptom of a larger moral deficit."

But Barber, who made a thunderous speech at last year's Democratic National Convention, warned the crowd to remain vigilant in his absence, reminding them that while his future is in Washington and across the country, the rights of North Carolinians are still under attack. For that reason, he said, he would stay active in the state NAACP and in his Goldsboro church.

"If there's a need to march and move in North Carolina, I'm a homeboy," he said. "I'm not going anywhere. My roots run deep in North Carolina."

This article appeared in print with the headline "The Next Mission."

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in North Carolina



Twitter Activity

Comments

Ok. FIRST of all: NOBODY MAKES ANYONE come into these places!!!! I work in one and everyday people are complaining …

by workflow on Sweepstakes cafes: coming to your low-income neighborhood (North Carolina)

Id like to purchase one of these "doublewide" , if affordable, lost my place due to unreliable roommate, I'm trying …

by Roynell Tres Richardson on Abandoned mobile homes plague North Carolina (North Carolina)

Most Recent Comments

Ok. FIRST of all: NOBODY MAKES ANYONE come into these places!!!! I work in one and everyday people are complaining …

by workflow on Sweepstakes cafes: coming to your low-income neighborhood (North Carolina)

Id like to purchase one of these "doublewide" , if affordable, lost my place due to unreliable roommate, I'm trying …

by Roynell Tres Richardson on Abandoned mobile homes plague North Carolina (North Carolina)

Looking for a home for myself and my boys. I also have one on the way. I am in college …

by Amanda Sharek on Abandoned mobile homes plague North Carolina (North Carolina)

Have to disagree with ct. When did the N and O last provide strong city and county govt news coverage …

by Leanne Sigmon on The N&O Promises Less Spinach. What Does That Mean for Local News Consumers? (North Carolina)

I fear the N&O wants to bet its future on being the "newspaper of record" for state government and is …

by ct on The N&O Promises Less Spinach. What Does That Mean for Local News Consumers? (North Carolina)

© 2017 Indy Week • 320 E. Chapel Hill St., Suite 200, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation