Jelani Cobb has written, for The New Yorker, that the Reverend Dr. William Barber is a man “driven by a fugitive hope that an ancestral breach might finally be cemented,” and is “charismatic, tireless, eloquent” in his ongoing civil-rights work.
Barber is the pastor of Greenleaf Christian Church, in Goldsboro, North Carolina. He has devoted his life to demanding that Americans address the legacies of systemic inequities and the toll that they have exacted from our poorest and most vulnerable communities. With the Reverend Liz Theoharis, he launched the Poor People’s Campaign, in 2018; it is intended to build on Martin Luther King, Jr.,’s 1968 campaign of the same name. The initiative calls for, as Cobb summed up, “federal and state living-wage laws, equity in education, an end to mass incarceration, a single-payer health-care system, and the protection of the right to vote.”