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Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II

Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II

Feinberg Series Keynote Address and Inaugural James Baldwin Lecture

Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II is president of Repairers of the Breach, national co-chair of the 2018 Poor People’s Campaign, and leads an alliance of more than 200 progressive organizations best known as “Moral Monday.”  This coalition has led justice work in North Carolina for a decade and inspired organizing across the nation.  The Washington Post called Barber’s speech at the 2016 Democratic National Convention “the most engaging” of many strong ones. Dr. Barber was recognized as one of the International Black Achievers by the International Slavery Museum in Liverpool England and his portrait now hangs on the Black Achievers Wall in the Legacy gallery.

As the architect of the Moral Monday he stands for a multi-racial, multi-faith movement fighting for voting rights, public education, universal healthcare, environmental protection, and the rights of women, labor, immigrants and members of the LGBTQ community. In 2013, thousands joined weekly protests at the North Carolina state legislature; more than a thousand were arrested in civil disobedience. Monday coalition continues to draw tens of thousands each year.

For the past two years, Rev. Dr. Barber has led a national organizing tour called “The Revival: Time for a Moral Revolution of Values,” working alongside Rev. Dr. James Forbes, Rev. Dr. Traci Blackmon, and Sister Simone Campbell to redefine public morality and support state coalitions to address poverty, injustice, and inequality.  Rev. Dr. Barber headed the state NAACP from 2006 to 2017 and serves on the NAACP National Board of Directors.  He is currently co-chairs with Rev. Dr.  Elizabeth Theoharis the Poor People’s Campaign, A National Call For A Moral Revival, which focuses on Systemic Racism, Poverty and Inequality, Ecological Devastation, the War Economy and Militarism, and National Morality.

Rev. Dr. Barber graduated from North Carolina Central University, earned a Master of Divinity degree from Duke University, and a doctorate from Drew University.  He is Visiting Professor of Public Theology and Activism at Union Theological Seminary and the author of Forward Together: A Moral Vision for the Nation and The Third Reconstruction: Moral Mondays, Fusion Politics and the Rise of a New Justice Movement.  He is a member of the College of Affirming Bishops and lives in Goldsboro, N.C. where he has pastored Greenleaf Christian Church for 25 years.  

Event Details

Free and Open to the Public. 

Ticket Information: Reserve your FREE ticket here, by phone (413-545-2511) or at the Fine Arts Center Box Office (151 President's Drive, Amherst). All seating is general admission, on a first come, first served basis on the night of the event. Tickets are valid up until 15 minute before the lecture begins; seats are not guaranteed for ticket holders arriving after 5:45pm. Any remaining tickets will be available on a first come, first served basis on the night of the lecture. Limit 4 tickets per person. 

Location Information and Directions: The Fine Arts Center (151 President's Drive, Amherst, MA 01003) is located on Haigis Mall on the campus of the University of Massachusetts Amherst. It is a short distance from the Visitors Center Parking Lot ($1.50/hour before 7:00 pm) and from lots 32 and 34, which are free and open to the public after 5pm. There are several bus stops nearby. Links: bus scheduledriving directionscampus map with the Fine Arts Center and nearby parking indicated. If you need additional assistance to plan your visit, please contact the History Department's communications assistant, Adeline Broussan, at

Accessibility: The Fine Arts Center has accessible entrances, restrooms, elevators, and seating. Links: accessible parking, campus accessibility map.

Young People Welcome: Young people of all ages are welcome at this event and all Feinberg Series events. There will be coloring books and crayons available for children.

Free Buses: There will be a free bus to/from Springfield, MA, offered in partnership with Arise for Social Justice and Springfield No One Leaves. Details forthcoming. Stipends are available to support transportation for bringing groups of young adults to the event. Contact for details.

About the Feinberg Series and the James Baldwin Lecture

The 2018 Feinberg Series theme is Another World Is Possible: Revolutionary Visions, Past and Present. Series events and initiatives will explore the radical imaginations of intellectuals, artists, political leaders, renegade thinkers, community organizers, and everyday people who have worked to make another world possible. All events are FREE and open to the public. The Feinberg Family Distinguished Lecture Series is offered every other academic year by the Department of History at UMass Amherst and made possible thanks to the generosity of UMass history department alumnus Kenneth R. Feinberg ’67 and associates.

The James Baldwin Lecture addresses issues connected to social, economic, and political justice and underpinnings in institutional racism. It was established by and made possible with generous support from History Department alumnus Dr. Allen J. Davis '68. This lecture is presented by the Department of History, the W.E.B. Du Bois Department of African American Studies, and the College of Humanities and Fine Arts. 

This event is also made possible thanks to the support of the UMass Amherst Department of Anthropology, the Fine Arts Center, the Graduate School, the Office of Equity & Inclusion, the Office of the Provost, Student Affairs and Campus Life, and the Feinberg Series's numerous co-sponsors and community partners noted below. 

Visit the Feinberg Series webpage for more information about the series.

Feinberg Series Co-sponsors and Community Partners: Amherst College: Department of American Studies and Department of Anthropology and Sociology. Hampshire College: Ethics and the Common Good and Hampshire College Art Gallery. Mount Holyoke College: Department of English. Smith College: Department of History and Latin American and Latino/a Studies Program. UMass Amherst: Anthropology Department, Center for Research on Families, Civic Engagement and Service Learning, College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Commonwealth Honors College, Communications Department, English Department, Fine Arts Center (keynote), Graduate School (keynote), Institute for Social Science Research, James Baldwin Lecture, established by Allen Davis '68 (keynote), Labor Center, Institute for Holocaust, Genocide and Memory Studies, Massachusetts Society of Professors, Office of Equity & Inclusion (keynote), Office of the Provost (keynote), Political Science Department, Public History Program, Prison Abolition Collective, Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies, Social Thought and Political Economy Program, Student Affairs and Campus Life (keynote), Student Government Association, University Museum of Contemporary Art, Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies Department, W.E.B. Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies. Community Organizations: Arise for Social Justice, All Hamptons Reads, Collaborative for Educational Services, David Ruggles Center, Great Falls Books Through Bars, Historians for Peace and Democracy, International Socialist Organization Western Mass, Massachusetts Peace Action, Northampton Committee to Stop the Wars, Out Now, Pa’lante Restorative Justice, Pioneer Valley Democratic Socialists of America, Pioneer Valley Workers Center, Racial Justice Rising, Resistance Center for Peace and Justice, Springfield No One Leaves, Western Mass Jobs with Justice, Western Mass Prison Abolition Network, and Western Mass Showing Up for Racial Justice.