RALEIGH The Rev. William Barber, a force in North Carolina politics whose Moral Monday movement spread across the country, announced he will not run for another term as president of the North Carolina NAACP and will step down from the role in June, he said during a conference call. Barber said he will “transition” to a national role in the New Poor People’s Campaign.For more than a decade Barber led the state’s arm of NAACP by preaching inclusion through both sermons and activism, where he called for people of all faiths and nonbelievers to rally for left-leaning causes.In recent years, that pitted him against a North Carolina legislature and executive branch led by Republicans, and voter ID laws and House Bill 2 further emboldened Barber and his supporters. Critics have labeled Barber, who began heading the N.C. NAACP in 2005, an “extremist” and “radical” and claim the protests and marches he organizes are divisive, bolstered by out-of-state forces, and not about morality but rather partisan politics.A fiery speaker who fellow activist Cornel West has called “the closest person we to Martin Luther King Jr. in our midst,” the 53-year-old Barber spoke on the final day of the 2016 Democratic National Convention and has gained national prominence for his sermon-style speeches.A registered independent, Barber said he will join the New Poor People’s Campaign. His new venture comes a half century after Dr. Martin Luther King’s original Poor People’s Campaign, and will focus on 25 states and the District of Columbia.Barber will continue to hold a seat on the national NAACP board and remain minister at Greenleaf Christian Church in Goldsboro. He will hold a news conference Monday in Raleigh.
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