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HomeFaculty & ResearchYDS FacultyWilliam Barber
Professor in the Practice of Public Theology and Public Policy
Bishop William J. Barber II, DMin, is a Professor in the Practice of Public Theology and Public Policy and Founding Director of the Center for Public Theology and Public Policy at Yale Divinity School. He serves as President and Senior Lecturer of Repairers of the Breach, Co-Chair of the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call For Moral Revival, Bishop with The Fellowship of Affirming Ministries, and has been Pastor of Greenleaf Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Goldsboro, NC, for the past 29 years.
He is the author of four books: We Are Called To Be A Movement; Revive Us Again: Vision and Action in Moral Organizing; The Third Reconstruction: Moral Mondays, Fusion Politics, and The Rise of a New Justice Movement; and Forward Together: A Moral Message For The Nation.
Bishop Barber served as president of the North Carolina NAACP from 2006-2017 and on the National NAACP Board of Directors from 2008-2020. He is the architect of the Forward Together Moral Movement that gained national acclaim in 2013 with its Moral Monday protests at the North Carolina General Assembly. In 2015, he established Repairers of the Breach to train communities in moral movement building through the Moral Political Organizing Leadership Institute and Summit Trainings (MPOLIS). In 2018, he co-anchored the relaunch of the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival— reviving the 1968 Poor People’s Campaign organized by SCLS, under the leadership of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., worker’s rights movement, women’s rights movement, religious leaders, and people of all races to fight poverty in the U.S.
A highly sought-after speaker, Bishop Barber has given keynote addresses at hundreds of national and state conferences, including the 2016 Democratic National Convention, the homily at the 59th Inaugural Prayer Service for President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, the Vatican at Pope Francis’s encyclical “Laudato Si’: On Care for Our Common Home” and the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences. In June 2018, he addressed the 5th Uni Global Union World Congress to more than 25 countries.
Bishop Barber is regularly featured in media outlets such as MSNBC, CNN, the New York Times, Washington Post, and The Nation magazine. He was named one of 2020’s BET 100 Entertainers and Innovators, and he is one of the 2019 recipients of the North Carolina Award, the state’s highest civilian honor. He is a 2018 MacArthur Foundation Genius Award recipient and a 2015 recipient of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Award and the Puffin Award.
Bishop Barber has had ten honorary degrees conferred upon him. He earned a Bachelor’s Degree from North Carolina Central University, a Master of Divinity from Duke University, and a Doctor of Ministry Drew University with a concentration in Public Policy and Pastoral Care.