Rev. Dr. William Barber II Comes to Bridgewater

MLK Celebration Continues


Lamont Jones

Rev. Dr. William Barber II lectures about the challenges of Martin Luther King Jr. in Cole Hall. His endowed lecture was part of Bridgewater’s celebration of King.

Sammie Herbst, Staff Writer

Bridgewater, Va. –  On Jan. 18 at 7:30 p.m., Rev. Dr. William Barber II delivered a lecture in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. His words focused on the challenges faced by King and complacency in today’s world while too many feel rejected.

Senior Instructor of Communication Studies Jennifer Babcock and President David Bushman both introduced and praised Barber’s work, as he continues to finish King’s goals. 

“Tonight we are honored to have Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II with us,” Bushman said. “Last month, Dr. Barber was named as Yale’s director of Public Theology and Public Policy.”

The lecture began with a short film explaining one of King’s biggest points, which is poverty across the country. The video showed the struggle of full-time workers who live below the poverty line.

In 2018, Barber relaunched the Poor People’s Campaign, which was started by King back in December 1967, and Barber is now the co-chair.

“Don’t ever think one person is the result,” said Barber. “Some things are not about left versus right.” 

Barber stated that the government is not doing enough to fulfill what King had preached nearly 50 years ago.

Throughout his lecture, Barber returned to the theme of not being satisfied, because as a nation, every citizen is far too comfortable with the suffering of others. He then called up those who had felt rejected for any reason; many members of the audience came to the front of Cole Hall and stood with him.

A question and answer session took place after Barber’s lecture, followed by a book signing in the lobby of the Kline Campus Center.

 Barber has written four books including “We Are Called to Be a Movement; Revive Us Again: Vision and Action in Moral Organizing;” “The Third Reconstruction: Moral Mondays, Fusion Politics and the Rise of a New Justice Movement” and “Forward Together: A Moral Message for the Nation.”

Barber also announced the establishment of four scholarships for Bridgewater students in need. The scholarships will be managed by the Harrisonburg mayor’s office.