NAACP’s William Barber Back In Court For Moral Monday Charges

WAKE COUNTY – NAACP state chapter president Reverend William Barber and 11 other Moral Monday protesters were back in court Tuesday on charges of disrupting lawmakers during an April rally inside the state Legislative Building.

The group was the first of more than 900 people arrested during the weekly Moral Monday peaceful protests against legislation passed by Republican-controlled General Assembly during the summer.

The protesters were charged with trespassing, failing to disperse and violating Legislative Building rules.

One day of testimony in the trials of Rev. William Barber and the other 11 protesters was held in October, and the trials are expected to continue Wednesday, multiple news outlets reported.

General Assembly Police Chief Jeff Weaver took to the witness stand Tuesday morning, explaining the rules about gatherings at the Legislative Building, WRAL reported. Defense attorneys argued that the rules, which were drafted in 1987, are vague and can be interpreted differently.

A handful of protesters have been convicted and are appealing, and a few others were acquitted. Charges against dozens of protesters were dropped after they agreed to perform community service under a deal offered by Wake County prosecutors.

Asheville To Host ‘Mountain Moral Monday’

Pictured: Moral Monday March; Photo by Rachel Nash

ASHEVILLE -Downtown Raleigh will be a little more quiet as the Moral Monday movement has hit to the road for a tour of the state, in protest of legislation passed by N.C. Governor Pat McCrory and the Republican-led General Assembly. Led by the state NAACP, the first stop is Asheville for Mountain Moral Monday. Reverend William Barber will be speaking at the event.

During the 13 weeks of protesting in the capital city, thousands attended the demonstrations and 925 people were arrested. The movement has captured national attention from media outlets such as the New York Times, MSNBC, CNN and Fox News, to name a few.

The NAACP also will also hold demonstrations in each of North Carolina’s 13 Congressional Districts in honor of the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington on August 28.

Epic End To Raleigh Moral Mondays

Photo by Rachel Nash

RALEIGH – For thirteen weeks, people have gathered in Raleigh to rally against the policies of the Republican-led General Assembly, as part of a movement that’s come to be called the Moral Monday protests. Since late April when the first 17 protesters were arrested, the number has grown to a final tally of 925. The legislature adjourned its tumultuous session last week, but that didn’t stop protesters.

In the largest crowd yet, they marched on the State Capitol Building in their final Moral Monday in Raleigh, shutting down streets as their message echoed across down town.

More than a thousand gathered on Fayetteville Street, facing the building where N.C. Governor McCrory conducts his business. A smaller group gathered at the State Capitol earlier in the day to demand a meeting with McCrory. Police kept the demonstration outside the building but said they would deliver the protesters’ letter to the governor.

In the past 12 Moral Mondays, the protesters have gone into the General Assembly, where arrests where made outside chamber doors. This time, the crowd gathered on the lawn of Halifax Mall and then marched in unison to their destination, chanting along the way.

Teachers from across the state came in droves, wearing red to represent public education. Rodney Ellis, president of the North Carolina Teacher’s Association, was arrested at last week’s Moral Monday.

“Last week, the legislature passed a budget that will ultimately destroy public education in North Carolina,” Ellis said.


Ellis explained that this budget eliminates over 9,000 education positions, including teacher jobs, teacher’s assistants and education support personnel. It provides no raises for teachers and does away with a salary increase for those who earn master’s degrees. Perhaps the most controversial measure is the $20 million set aside for “opportunity scholarships,” which opponents have compared to a school voucher system.

UNC alum Rory Santaloci currently teaches in Efland and has attended many Moral Mondays. He said the budget, which McCrory signed last week, is an insult to teachers across the state.

“If the majority of our population is taught in public schools, a large portion of the budget should go to public schools as well. We’re talking about the future of our state and the future of our counties,” Santaloci said.

Santloci is going to grad school at NYU in the fall, but because of what has happened, he won’t be coming back to his home state.

“Before this law was passed, I was going to grad school with the hope of returning to North Carolina and getting a pay raise. I’m going to [grad] school in New York and the incentive to return and teach where I am from is no longer there,” Santaloci said.

UNC Alum Ashley Jones, who is in her third year of teaching, had plans to get her master’s degree this fall, but cancelled those plans.

“In the foreseeable future, I’ll always be paid as a first year teacher, and it is not very much. To know that it [teacher’s salary] won’t go up is really frustrating,” Jones said.

NAACP State Chapter President and protest leader Reverend William Barber said the Moral Monday protesters aren’t going anywhere just because the General Assembly has adjourned, exclaiming, “This state is our state!”

“We understand that we are not in some mere political movement. We’re not in some mere fight over 2014. We’re in a fight for the soul of this state, the soul of the South, and the soul of this nation. And when you are in a soul fight, you don’t give up easy,” Barber said.

Though this was the last Moral Monday in Raleigh, the NAACP will continue the rallies but move to different locations around the state. The next will be in Asheville on August 5, and there are plans to hold demonstrations in all 13 of North Carolina’s congressional districts.

“What would have divided us years ago has brought us together like never before. We know where we are. Anytime in the South, you see this many black folk, brown folk, white folk, gay folk and straight folk, and people of all faiths hugging each other, something is on the loose!” Barber said.

The first Moral Monday rallies were mostly made up of protesters from the Triangle area and members of the NAACP, but as the weeks progressed and the controversial legislation was unveiled, the crowds grew.

Paul Jones, a Clinical Professor at the UNC  School of Information and Library Science and the School of Journalism and Mass Communications, said, “This is my sixth visit here [to Moral Monday] to try to turn the hearts of the legislature back to the path of righteousness and caring, to save them from the path of sin which they have entered, and to bring happiness and fellowship back to North Carolina.”

The movement has captured national attention from media outlets such as the New York Times, MSNBC, CNN and Fox News, to name a few.

“I think it is obvious that this is gaining momentum and that the values that they are speaking to resonate with North Carolinians,” said Randy Voller, Mayor of Pittsboro and Chair of the North Carolina Democratic Party.

For now, Mondays in downtown Raleigh will be a little more quiet until the legislature gets back to business.

To hear the radio version, click here:

Carter Wrenn & Gary Pearce Weigh In On Moral Mondays

Pictured: Moral Monday

CHAPEL HILL – We’ve heard from the outspoken Moral Monday protesters as they gather in Raleigh each week to rally against the policies of the Republican-led General Assembly. WCHL’s D.G. Martin spoke with Carter Wrenn and Gary Pearce, two experts on opposite ends of the political spectrum, to get their take on the protests.

Together the two run a blog together called “Talking About Politics.”  Wrenn, who’s a Republican, and Pearce, who’s a Democrat, met in 1984 during the epic U.S. Senate battle between Jesse Helms and Jim Hunt. Wrenn worked for Helms and Pearce worked for Hunt.

Wrenn said Moral Monday leader and NAACP State Chapter President Reverend William Barber has become the face of the Democratic Party in North Carolina.

“I don’t think Moral Monday has contributed any sort of sensible political debate. I don’t want to sound harsh, but William Barber is pure demagogue. This isn’t a debate, this is a political rant,” Wrenn said.

Wrenn said Barber has used the strategy of “out-howling” everyone to get his point across.

“The theory is that as that howl reaches through the ether and the internet and people hear somebody hollering, that’s helping them a lot politically. I’m sort of inclined to think that hearing that sort of hollering, you shut down; you just block it out,” Wrenn said.

Pearce however felt differently about Barber’s leadership.

“One man’s demagogue is another man’s leader with courage and conviction. At least he’s had the courage to stand up and say some things, and he has hit a responsive chord,” Pearce said.

Pearce said this mid-year swing in momentum is a positive sign for the state’s Democrats.

“There’s a mobilizing, energizing element to this. Remember in 2010 all the energy and protests were coming from the Tea Party and then we had a very Tea Party dominated election in 2010. I’m hoping this energy translates to next year,” Pierce said.

These comments were made during the recording of Who’s Talking with D.G. Martin. To hear more from Wrenn and Pearce, tune in for the full show Saturday and Sunday at 6:00 a.m., 1:00 p.m., and 11:00 p.m. on 97.9 FM WCHL and

Rev. Barber, The Voice Behind Moral Mondays

CHAPEL HILL – Reverend William Barber, President of the North Carolina NAACP, is the loud and passionate voice behind the Moral Monday protests in Raleigh. Thousands gather in Raleigh each week to hear Barber speak against the policies of General Assembly.

When the NAACP staged its first protest on April 29, Barber was among the 17 arrested. Those arrestees now wear pens that read “I went to jail with Reverend Barber.” Following this week’s Mass Moral Monday, more than 550 people have now been arrested.

Moral monday

Rev. William Barber speaking at Mass Moral Monday on June 24

UNC Communications Professor, Christian Lundberg, specializes in theories of the public discourse, public speaking, rhetorical theory, and debate and deliberation.

He explained that Barber keeps with the traditions of speakers from African American churches associated with the Civil Rights movement.

“But the most interesting thing is that further into the speech, he starts to change from the short and simple sentences, to eloquent and figural language. There are lots of metaphors and lots of repetition,” Lundberg said.

Lundberg identified several techniques that Barber employs in his speeches. He begins with declarative sentences, and then as he gets in to the speech, picks up the pace and intensifies his volume.

Coming from a church background, Barber’s speeches are also heavily laced with Biblical references. Many “amens” can be heard from the crowds at the demonstrations, as people of faith and clergy members have been very active in the rallies.

Geoffrey Frank, who attends the United Church of Chapel Hill, has been to five NAACP protests and said he loves to hear Barber speak. Frank said it’s more than just Barber’s energy that gets his attention.

“He really understands the issues and comes at them from a moral point of view. He puts his message across very well and knows the scriptures and how that applies,” Frank said.

Lundberg explains that Barber speaks in anaphoric expressions, where he begins each phrase with the same word, and then does a riff on that word.

It’s a stylistic approach used by many Southern preachers, and the cumulative effect, Lundberg explains, conveys passion to listeners.

“He’s really taking lots of individual issues in the political debate and tying them to this larger narrative frame that links the struggle in Raleigh right now to the struggle in the civil rights movement. Those two things work together to move him toward a really passionate and engaging leader, especially for audiences who share some of his assumptions,” Lundberg said.

However, not everyone in North Carolina is taken by what Barber has to say. NC State Senator Thom Goolsby called the Civil Disobedience Movement “Moron Monday.”

“The interesting thing about our culture is that people listen to speeches less to be challenged now, but rather to confirm what their own opinions are,” Lundberg said.

Lundberg pointed out, though, that the response of the listener depends heavily on their ideological beliefs.

“For liberal and progressive folks who identify with his critiques of the state, they see that screaming as an extension of his passion. It’s something that they can get into, and get excited about. I imagine for folks who are on the conservative side, they see that as just screaming. It adds more fuel to the fire over a very partisan debate,” Lundberg said.

Lundberg said time will tell how successful Barber is at reaching the North Carolinians who are somewhere in the middle of the political spectrum.

“That is what is really interesting about guys like that if they are able to reach the more moderate folks to agree with the message. Speakers were very effective with that during the Civil Rights movement of the 1960’s and whether or not that will be effective in our political context, I don’t know. What I do know is that guy is able to execute his strategy quiet well and so it’s interesting to listen and watch,” Lundberg said.

Barber and others involved in the Civil Disobedience Movement have said they won’t stop protesting until they see change in the legislation coming out of the General Assembly.

The next rally is set for this Monday; Barber has called for greater numbers to attend, dubbing it another Mass Moral Monday.