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Media Advisory: William Barber to Speak at School of Divinity’s Fall Convocation on Sept. 2

By Cheryl Walker, 336-758-6073, walkercv@wfu.edu or media@wfu.edu AND Mark Batten, 336-758-3748, battencm@wfu.edu Office of Communications and External Relations

The Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, architect of North Carolina’s Moral Monday-Forward Together Movement, president of the North Carolina NAACP, and pastor of Greenleaf Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Goldsboro, NC, will deliver Wake Forest University School of Divinity’s Fall Convocation address on Tuesday, Sept. 2.

Barber’s address is also the inaugural event of the Mac Bryan Prophetic Preaching Series.

The Mac Bryan Prophetic Preaching Series honors the late George McLeod “Mac” Bryan, Sr. who was professor of religion at Wake Forest University for 37 years. In addition to teaching courses on feminism, religion and science, and liberation theology, Bryan fought tirelessly for Civil Rights, pursued social reform, and was instrumental in helping to integrate Wake Forest College in the 1960s.

The series brings preachers and speakers to the Wake Forest campus who will inspire students to live and serve at the intersection of Christianity and social justice. It was established by Wake Forest graduates George and Carol Williamson because of Bryan’s impact on their lives. “Mac’s character was to bring others along in his confident intention toward reform of the human folly for public injustice,” George Williamson said.

“We are thrilled to begin our school year with the prophetic voice of William Barber,” School of Divinity Dean Gail R. O’Day said. “It is exciting to honor the life and legacy of Mac Bryan with a preacher who is committed to social justice and the public impact of religious leadership, and whose ministry so powerfully aligns with Bryan’s commitments.”

Barber has led more than 117 events since 2013 in the North Carolina Moral Monday protests. The movement has almost eight years of experience debating with leaders in the General Assembly to win Same Day Registration, the Racial Justice Act, and building cross-racial unity in the marriage equality discussion. Earlier this year, 80,000 people participated in the largest civil rights march ever in the south, the 8th Historic Thousand on Jones Street, held in Raleigh.

Since 2005, Barber has transformed the North Carolina NAACP into one of the largest membership-based progressive organizations in the state by joining together more than 200 partners, representing diverse religious and cultural affiliations, to promote social reform in the North Carolina General Assembly. At Greenleaf Christian Church he has led the building of more than 60 homes for low-income families, a senior citizens’ residence, preschool, academic after-school, computer lab for youth and adults, a HIV information and testing center, a Second Chance program for training formerly incarcerated persons in the culinary arts, and created landscaping and technical jobs – all by investing in the property located within a two-mile radius of the church. He has been featured on CNN, MSNBC, the Wall Street Journal, and the New York Times.

The Sept. 2 convocation service is open to the public and will begin at 11 a.m. in Wait Chapel on the Wake Forest campus. Doors open at 10 a.m. and seating will be first-come, first served. For more information visit divinity.wfu.edu.

About the Wake Forest University School of Divinity: The Wake Forest University School of Divinity is a growing, dynamic and ecumenical theological institution that prepares men and women to be religious leaders in a changing world. The School currently offers the Master of Divinity degree and several dual degrees in law, bioethics, counseling, education, and sustainability offered jointly with other schools of the University. Through imaginative courses and diverse programs of community engagement, students are equipped to be agents of justice, reconciliation, and compassion in Christian churches and other ministries.

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