2020 Gruber Distinguished Lecture in Global Justice

Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II delivered the Gruber Distinguished Lecture in Global Justice on February 24, 2020. 

 The video of the lecture can be viewed here!

William J. Barber, II is pastor of Greenleaf Christian Church in Goldsboro, North Carolina (since 1993) and past-president of the North Carolina conference of the NAACP (2005–2017). His ministry is devoted to social justice understood through the lens of the ethical and moral treatment of people as laid out in the Christian Bible, the Reconstruction and civil rights movements of the South, and the United States Constitution.

Barber has built unusually inclusive fusion coalitions that are multiracial and interfaith, reaching across race, gender, age, and class lines, and dedicated to addressing poverty, inequality, and systemic racism. Some of his notable interventions include “Moral Monday” rallies held outside of the statehouse in Raleigh, North Carolina to protest laws that suppressed voter turnout, cut funding for public education and healthcare, and further disenfranchised poor white, black, First Nations, and LGBTQ communities. The Moral Mondays rallies and associated nonviolent acts of civil disobedience grew to involve tens of thousands of participants across North Carolina and spread to states across the South. The movement waged successful legal challenges to voter suppression and racial gerrymandering, winning twice at the Supreme Court.

Barber then founded Repairers of the Breach, a leadership development organization, in 2014 to expand and build a national movement rooted in moral analysis, moral articulation, and moral action. In 2016, he led a moral revival tour that covered 26 states and attracted thousands. In 2017, he and colleagues launched a revival of the 1968 Poor People’s Campaign that was spearheaded by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and many others. The campaign has been recast for the twenty-first century, building state and local, non-partisan fusing movements committed to shifting the moral narrative, building power, and challenging laws and policies that hurt the poor and threaten our democracy. 

William Barber received a B.A. (1985) from North Carolina Central University, and M.Div. (1989) from Duke University, and a D.Min. (2003) from Drew University. He has also received seven Honorary Doctorates. From 2006 to 2017, Barber was president of the North Carolina chapter of the NAACP and has been a member of the national board of the NAACP since 2005. He is also a distinguished visiting professor at Union Theological Seminary. Barber’s publications include the co-authored books Forward Together: A Moral Message for the Nation (2014), The Third Reconstruction: Moral Mondays, Fusion Politics, and the Rise of a New Justice Movement (2016), and Revive Us Again: Vision and Action in Moral Organizing (2018), and he is a contributing op-ed writer for The New York Times, CNN, MSNBC and the Washington Post. Barber is also a 2018 MacArthur Fellow, 2018 Tar Heel of the Year, an Auburn Seminary Senior Fellow and holds the Visiting Social Justice Chair at St. John’s University.

 Information on the Gruber Distinguished Lectures in Justice and Women’s Rights is available here.