State NAACP president Barber speaks at Hill Street Baptist

The Rev. Dr. William Barber, president of the NC NAACP, speaking at Hill Street Baptist Church on Tuesday. Photo by Leslie Boyd

The so-called Bathroom Bill is no more about bathrooms than the so-called Voter ID bill was about identification, the Rev. Dr. William Barber II told a gathering of about 150 people at Hill Street Baptist Church on Tuesday, April 26.

“Read the rest of it,” Barber said. The new law, HB2, takes away the rights of local governments to set their own policy on matters such as living wage and pollution, he said, adding that it takes away the rights of workers to sue employers for discrimination in state court.

“You can say we still have federal court, but it costs twice as much,” Barber told the racially and gender diverse crowd. He noted that since there are fewer federal than state courts, it’s a longer distance to travel for most people, and the statute of limitations to file suit is six months, compared to the state’s 3-year limit.

Facing an emotional, supportive crowd, Barber declared, “The coalition has to look like you here tonight. We have to fight together. We have to be united.”

Before Barber took the stage, UNC Asheville political science professor Dr. Dwight Mullen spoke about the State of Black Asheville, a class he has been offering since 2007, in which students study racial disparities.

Mullen recalled a student who proposed studying bicycle use in Asheville. Mullen thought the idea absurd. But the student found fewer sidewalks and bike lanes in predominately African-American neighborhoods, and more injuries and deaths. What’s more, Mullen said, during the semester, this same student’s friend was hit by a car and died from his injuries.

Dr. Dwight Mullen, professor of political science at UBC Asheville, spoke at Tuesday's State of Black Asheville event at Hill Street Baptist Church.
Dr. Dwight Mullen, professor of political science at UNC Asheville, spoke at Tuesday’s State of Black Asheville event at Hill Street Baptist Church. Photo by Leslie Boyd

“Tenure is a wonderful thing,” Mullen said several times as he delivered statistics and spoke about how children in the same schools fared differently depending on race.  He contrasted the outcomes for students in grades 3 through 8 in Asheville City Schools: 19.5 percent of black students, 77.2 percent of white students and 42.9 percent of Hispanic students reached proficient or advanced reading levels (using statistics from the 2012-13 school year, More details are online at

Barber said it will take a coalition of citizens’ groups to overcome gerrymandering, unfair voter laws and blatant power grabs by the current state government. He said the North Carolina NAACP is sponsoring a get-out-the-vote campaign called “Our Time, Our Vote,” which aims to register tens of thousands of voters around the state, and to help them get to the polls.

Barber was among hundreds of people arrested in Washington during a three-day Democracy Rising demonstration at the U.S. Capitol on Sunday, and he led a group of people in an anti-HB2 sit-in at the General Assembly Building in Raleigh on Monday, during which 54 people were arrested.






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12 thoughts on “State NAACP president Barber speaks at Hill Street Baptist

  1. Richard

    So Professor Mullen, you mentioned school performance in your litany of unfair and racially biased this and thats. How do you blame the poor performance of any particular characteristic of school kids, referring to skin color, ethnicity, gender, etc., on a political party, or local, state, or federal government?
    Are not the Asheville/BC schools at all levels populated by teachers who are hired from the same available pool of teacher talent, paid under the same salary structure, working under pretty much the same conditions, and same management organization?
    If you will accept this, then have you thought about other factors? How about the obvious basic of family structure and supportive parenting, of guardians (bio parents or not) commitment to the needs of the kids to prosper as good students? How about remedial reading and or other skills classes, in and out of the school environment? How about organizing and operating pre-school and elementary level special training in the community?
    I realize it is probably more fun to go and hang out at protests, get arrested, have a feeling of camaraderie, etc. at these events, while spouting off and blaming everyone else, probably Republicans, about the low school performance scores.
    Have you considered a possibly more effective use of your available time and talents, for instance, working with the communities, students, families, and governmental agencies to get things started in a better direction? You know, roll up the sleeves and motivate lesser talented folks? And you can’t always count on a Democratic administration, city, state, or federal, to be in power, and to just pour money onto the fire, which has proven to not always work too well. So you have to learn to work with those currently in power. And I bet you have the ability to do all of that.
    So let go of the pull of EGO to be the king pin of activism, which in a way is what you are saying about the other party, and get your hands dirty. The kids need you.

  2. Peter Robbins

    In fairness, “Yep” doesn’t hide his identity all that well. It’s kinda like the way Clark Kent wore classes to make himself look smarter.

  3. Oh, and the airline apologized, and the man who complained also said he shouldn’t have. Dr. Barber was hoping to get a little sleep and rather than create a scene, he asked the flight attendant to ask the man to be a little quieter. The man took offense and started making trouble. Dr. Barber, who can’t turn his neck because of a disability, stood to speak to the man, who then felt threatened. It escalated from there. As for Yep’s identity, I don’t know who it is and I’m sure others don’t, either. I’m here as who I am.

  4. Yep

    wow you have an amazing long term memory but kinda creepy that you like to expose people’s pseudonyms … some people like
    to post anonymously but the small town trolls here don’t like that…

    do you know how much money bully Barber has FLEECED for his own uses from the NC taxpayers ? it’s all online over $1.2MILLION…but you go right on thinking what a servant he is …

  5. James

    Another fake reverend just like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson. Barber and the ilk like him get their talking orders from the political left in this country, not God. If a Catholic priest or bishop behaved like this, we’d hear non-stop rants from the media about “separation of Church and state”. But, the rules are different for political hacks posing as reverends.

    • Leslie Boyd

      He never was violent. He stood to speak to the man who was saying nasty things about him . The airline has apologized and so has the man

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