For years, I thought Grandmama’s grammar was bad. I studied my lessons in English class and knew that “hope” wasn’t a verb. I didn’t dare correct Grandmama, but I knew better than to say I was going to hope somebody.
Laying on my back in the hospital bed, it struck me that Grandmama was a better theologian than I’d realized. When no one could help me, I needed somebody to hope me. Only a revival down on the inside was going to change my circumstances on the outside.
God sent an angel to hope me, and something powerful happened: Folks started getting together. My doctors got together with the nurses and my family got together with my therapists. My church got together and figured out how to help me get around. It was a dozen years before I could walk on my own, but the minute I had hope down on the inside and folks started coming together, I knew I had a future.
PROTESTANT MINISTER, NORTH CAROLINA
Beginning in April 2013, Barber led regular “Moral Mondays” civil-rights protests in North Carolina’s state capital, Raleigh. The Wall Street Journal credited Barber’s NAACP chapter with forming a coalition in 2007 named Historic Thousands on Jones Street People’s Assembly (HKonJ), composed of 93 North Carolina advocacy groups. “With this changing demographic, we had to operate in coalition,” Barber was quoted as saying. Historian and professor Timothy Tyson named Barber “the most important progressive political leader in this state in generations”, saying that he “built a statewide interracial fusion political coalition that has not been seriously attempted since 1900”.. An article in the Michigan State Law Review, “Confronting Race: How a Confluence of Social Movements Convinced North Carolina to Go where the McCleskey Court Wouldn’t”, credits him with bringing together a statewide political coalition. He “has become as well known [in North Carolina] as [Governor] Pat McCrory and Republican leaders of the House and Senate,” according to a 2013 Huffington Post profile of him. He is active at the highest levels of the NAACP, e.g. traveling with the NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous to meet with Georgia prison officials
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