William J. Barber II

Minister and social activist

William J. Barber is president and senior lecturer of Repairers of the Breach, cochair of the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival, and a Charles F. Kettering Foundation senior fellow. He is a bishop with the Fellowship of Affirming Ministries and an executive board member of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). He is also 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 is the author of four books. Barber served as senior pastor of Greenleaf Christian Church, Disciples of Christ, for thirty years. He was president of the North Carolina NAACP from 2006-2017 and served 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, Barber established Repairers of the Breach to train communities in moral movement building. A highly sought-after speaker, Barber has given numerous keynote addresses and is regularly featured in media outlets such as MSNBC, CNN, and the New York Times. He has twelve honorary degrees and is the recipient of numerous honors, including a 2018 MacArthur Foundation Genius Award, one of the 2015 Roosevelt Institute Four Freedoms Awards (Freedom of Worship), and the 2015 Puffin Prize for Creative Citizenship. Barber earned a bachelor’s degree from North Carolina Central University, a master of divinity from Duke University, and a doctorate from Drew University.

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The Charles F. Kettering Foundation has established an elite group of senior fellows to work with the foundation to advance our pro-inclusive democracy mission. Learn more about all of our Kettering fellows.