Since 2013, Reverend William Barber II has led thousands of people at rallies throughout the state of North Carolina to protest the violation of civil liberties, primarily voting rights.
Rev. Barber’s Moral Monday protests have spread all over the South and even to other cities like Chicago. Now, in a new book, Rev. Barber shares why his moral awakening of justice should be considered the third Reconstruction period in America’s history.
Rev. William Barber and his co-author, Jonathan Wilson Hartgrove, joined Roland Martin on NewsOne Now to discuss their new book, The Third Reconstruction: Moral Mondays, Fusion Politics, and the Rise of a New Justice Movement.
Hartgrove told Martin fusion politics is a “beautiful example” of the work being done in North Carolina. He added, “There’s been an intentional Southern strategy to divide and conquer White and Black folks, and Rev. Barber is a master at seeing through that and of helping poor and working class White folks see that they actually have more in common with Black folks that they often vote against, than they have against each other.”
“We are not really engaged in a left – right debate,” Rev. Barber said, reiterating that it’s not even a debate between conservatives and liberals.
“What we have is a deep moral crisis, a deep Constitutional crisis, and we are seeing almost a front-end attempt to thwart the possibility of a third Reconstruction,” said Rev. Barber. “We know right now in the South, for instance, that if 30 percent of the unregistered African-American voters are registered and vote, you fundamentally change the South. If you change the South, you change the nation.”
Barber continued, “The Reconstructionists always understood that the greatest fights were statehouses and right now, where are we having the worst policies for criminal justice — statehouses, where are seeing cuts in public education — statehouses, where the attack is going on voting rights — statehouses.”
“Movements have to be built from the bottom up and Reconstruction language, moral language, gives us a different kind of way to talk and a different kind of way to organize — being able to bring Blacks, Whites, Latinos, and gays and straights, even Republicans and Democrats together.”
Rev. Barber also shared a very interesting tidbit of information about the demographics of those arrested during Moral Monday protests, saying 16 percent of those arrested identify as Independents and Democrats.
He added, “We have seven new branches of the NAACP in Western North Carolina that are predominantly White, but we didn’t get there by going up there and talking about left and right — that language is too puny, we didn’t talk about Democrat vs. Republican — we talked about issues being Constitutionally consistent, morally defensible, and economically sane, and it has allowed us a new way of organizing that is really taking grip in our state.”
Watch Roland Martin, Rev. William Barber, Jonathan Wilson Hartgrove, and the NewsOne Now panel discuss The Third Reconstruction: Moral Mondays, Fusion Politics, and the Rise of a New Justice Movement in the video clip above. Then watch their extended conversation in the clip below.
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