Rev. Dr. Barber graduated cum laude from North Carolina Central University (NCCU) in Durham, N.C., receiving a B.A. in Political Science. He received a Master of Divinity degree from Duke University, where he was a Benjamin Mays Fellow and a Dean scholar. Rev. Dr. Barber has a doctoral degree from Drew University in Madison, New Jersey, with a concentration in Public Policy and Pastoral Care, and he has received an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from NCCU. The Honorable Governor Beverly Purdue presented Rev. Dr. Barber with the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, North Carolina’s highest citizenship award presented to outstanding North Carolinians who have a proven record of service to the state.
Rev. Dr. Barber has served as the Executive Director of N.C. Human Relations Commission, State of North Carolina.
Rev. Dr. Barber has also served as an adjunct instructor at N.C. Wesleyan, North Carolina Central University and Duke Divinity School. He is currently the site Dean for Apex School of Theology.
Rev. Dr. Barber has served on the trustee boards of two colleges and is an MIT Mel King Community Fellow for Community and Economic CoLab.
Rev. Dr. Barber is the President of the North Carolina State Conference of the NAACP (2005) and was re-elected National Board Member (2011) and appointed as the National NAACP Chair of the Legislative Political Action Committee. Under his leadership, the NAACP developed a new 21st Century voter registration/voter participation system. Nationwide this system registered more than 442,000 new voters and provided access to 1.5 million voters. Rev. Barber serves as convener of the Forward Together and the HKonJ People’s Assembly.
Rev. Dr. Barber led fundraising efforts for the NC NAACP raising more than $2 million of new money over the last seven years and has increased NC NAACP staff from one to seven persons.
Since Rev. Dr. Barber became president, he led the North Carolina NAACP State Conference to national recognition when he accepted the 2006 Juanita Jackson Mitchell, Esq. Award for legal activism, the highest award in the NAACP for Legal Redress for Advocacy. In addition, in 2008 the NC NAACP became the recipient of the Thalheimer Award for most programmatic NAACP State Conference and in 2010 Rev. Dr. Barber won the National NAACP Kelly Alexander Award.
Rev. Dr. Barber has written one book entitled, “Preaching Through Unexpected Pain”, and several articles and is currently working on his second book. He has been featured on Wall Street, CNN, MSNBC, the New York Times, Crisis Magazine, and has spoken, preached and lectured around the country.
Rev. Dr. Barber’s membership affiliations have included Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, and Prince Hall Mason, 33°.Scotish Rite, and a Shriner. He has received many awards for his work fighting for justice, social change, and for speaking truth to power.
By the grace of God, Rev. Dr. Barber, along with local, state, and national NAACP leaders, has helped to lead the fight for voter rights, just redistricting, health care reform, labor and worker rights, protection of immigration rights, and reparation for women survivors of Eugenics, release of the Wilmington Ten and educational equality. Rev. Dr. Barber has been arrested three times for civil disobedience as he stood for educational, economic and equal justice.
Some of Rev. Dr. William Barber’s other accolades and accomplishments are:
The NC NAACP is the largest state conference in the south-second largest in nation.
- Rev. Dr. Barber is standing with Georgia’s NAACP State President to secure the release of Mr. John McNeil. A man, husband and father who was wrongfully convicted of murder and sentence to life in prison.
- Rev. Dr. Barber has help lead the North Carolina NAACP in filing Title VI filing against the Wayne and Wake County School Broads in the fight against re-segregation and inequality.
- Rev. Dr. Barber fought and helped to secure over millions of new dollars for low wealth and disadvantaged students.
- Rev. Dr. Barber has helped lead Historic Thousands On Jones Street: Peoples Assembly a coalition of over 104 progressive organizations with over 2 million memberships to champion a 14 point anti-racism, anti-poverty, anti-war agenda.
- Rev. Dr. Barber has helped secure the freedom of innocent African American men from Death Row and the passage of the Racial Justice Act.
- Rev. Dr. Barber helped win Same Day Registration Early Voting in NC- the only state in the south.
- Rev. Dr. Barber organized the Millions Voter March 2009 and helped more than 1.2 million black/brown voters go to polls.
- For over 19 years, he has been God’s servant as Pastor of Greenleaf Christian Church DOC (1993), Goldsboro, NC. The man of God has allowed God to use him as a vessel in saving souls, transforming lives and allowed him to birth or strengthen ministries to bring glory to God.
Rev. Dr. Barber leads as Chairperson of Rebuilding Broken Places Community Development Corporation (RBPCDC), a non-profit community development initiative born out of a vision from God to build affordable single family houses, senior citizen housing, provide job training, affordable child care, after school tutoring for disadvantage middle school students and to bring inner city revitalization in Goldsboro. Through this effort Rev. Dr. Barber has helped to develop homes for flood victims, first time homebuyers, led the effort to secure a low moderate-income senior citizen’s complex, and the construction of a Community Development Resource Center. To date this has resulted in more than 12 million dollars of community development initiatives.
As a part of these initiatives, Rev. Dr. Barber developed Project YESS: Youth Empowered for Success and Service, which are programs designed to enable students who are failing academically to achieve success through tutoring and enrichment activities that emphasize Attitude, Academics and Art.
Rev. Dr. Barber has led in the efforts along with other clergy and community leaders in The Stop the Funeral Initiative and the Drug Dealer/Gang Member Redemption Conference focused on reducing drug and gang violence in Wayne County. As a result of Rev. Dr. Barber’s lead on this initiative, RBPCDC is embarking on a new effort, the 2nd Chance Education and Job Training program aimed at providing education and job training for formerly incarcerated individuals and others with significant barriers to employment.
Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II is married to Rebecca McLean Barber and they have five children.