STATEWIDE – The Rev. William Barber, who led the state NAACP in blocking North Carolina’s attempts to limit voting rights and fiercely supported gay rights, said he’s stepping down as state chapter president and will focus on a poor people’s campaign like the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was building when he was slain.
The Reverend William Barber says he won’t seek another term and will instead focus more on a Poor People’s Campaign, like the one Martin Luther King Junior was developing before his assassination.
Barber says he’ll work with various groups on the campaign when he steps down next month and that he’ll remain on the NAACP’s national board.
“We need a moral narrative because somewhere along the line we’ve gotten trapped in this left vs. right conversation,” said the 53-year-old NAACP leader in an interview via conference call.
Barber also leads a nonprofit called Repairers of the Breach and said that group, along with the Kairos Center, Union Theological Seminary and others will lead a movement that will concentrate on 25 states and the nation’s capital where voter suppression, poverty and other problems are prevalent. The groups plan major actions next summer, which would mark the 50th anniversary of the start of King’s campaign in 1968.
Barber said more details would be forthcoming at a news conference Monday.
Though Barber’s term officially ends in October, he said he would step down in June. He will remain on the NAACP’s national board of directors, whose chair, Leon Russell, said he’ll “continue to be a voice for North Carolina, for the South and for issues he holds dear.”
Barber took the national stage in the literal sense last July, when he addressed the Democratic National Convention, saying then that the heart of the country’s democracy was on the line in the November elections. He called on voters to be “the moral defibrillator of our time” and to shock the nation with the power of love, mercy and the fight for justice.