News & Events

Mars Hill University Welcomes Rev. William Barber

Mars Hill University will welcome Rev. Dr. William Barber, president of the North Carolina conference of NAACP, on February 4 at 7:30 pm in Moore Auditorium. The event will be free and open to the public.

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Rev. William Barber (center) poses with Terrance McKnight andMcKay Sharpe, members of the MHU chapter of the NAACP.

In addition to his role in the state NAACP, Barber is a member of the National NAACP Board and chair of the NAACP's Legislative Political Action Committee. He has been a noted leader in civil rights and social justice issues in North Carolina. Most recently, he has taken an active leadership role in the Moral Monday protest movement, as well as the Forward Together movement and the HKonJ (Historic Thousands on Jones Street) People’s Assembly, all of which seek to address what many see as unjust political policies in North Carolina with respect to education, healthcare, criminal justice and other issues.

Rev. Barber serves as the pastor of Greenleaf Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Goldsboro, a 120-year-old congregation with over 400 members and 30 active ministries. He is chairperson of the Rebuilding Broken Places Community Development Corporation, a non-profit organization involved with building affordable single family homes and senior citizen housing and providing job training, affordable child care, and inner city revitalization in Goldsboro.

Governor Beverly Purdue awarded Barber with the Order of the Long Leaf Pine in 2009 - a North Carolina citizenship award presented to North Carolinians who have a record of service to the state. He is the author of several articles and two books: Preaching Through Unexpected Pain; and Forward Together: A Moral Message for the Nation .

Barber has held adjunct faculty positions at both Duke University and North Carolina Central University. He graduated cum laude with a B.A. in public administration from NC Central University, earned his master of divinity from the Duke Divinity School, and his doctoral degree from Drew University in Madison, NJ.

Barber was invited to speak at Mars Hill University by McKay Sharpe, president of the Mars Hill University chapter of the NAACP.

Sharpe said she first heard Rev. Barber speak at the Mountain Moral Monday event two summers ago. She was inspired by Barber's ability to move and motivate the crowd of over 10,000 people, she said, and since then, she has kept up with Barber as well as the Forward Together movement.

"I believe that Rev. Barber is one of the most influential leaders of the time," Sharpe said. "I really hope from hearing Rev. Barber speak, students will realize what is at stake if we do not get involved and demand just law-making from our elected officials. The time to act is now! Students at Mars Hill are paying attention, but I hope Rev. Barber can further energize us to action."

Sharpe said she hopes Barber's speech will encourage more students to become a part of the local NAACP chapter, and that it will motivate them to join the February 14 HKonJ march in Raleigh.

The NAACP chapter at Mars Hill is the only collegiate chapter of the organization in North Carolina west of Winston-Salem.