Monday, February 9, 2015
Barber, the N.C. NAACP president and organizer of Moral Monday legislative protests, visited the Observer's editorial board on Monday. He said blacks, whites and Latinos could come together to transform Southern politics. He called it "the embryonic stages of a third Reconstruction," following Reconstruction after the Civil War and the civil rights movement of the 1950s and '60s.
"The electorate that elected President Obama and pushed Southern states out of the so-called white Solid South was a sign of the birthing of the possibility of a third Reconstruction, which is why we believe there has been such an intensity on denying and suppressing the right to vote," Barber said.
"I say that we have the potential in the South right now -- we know that if ... registered black voters connect with progressive whites and Latinos, you could transform fundamentally the South. That the old Southern Solid South has a lot of cracks in it and that I believe a morally, constitutionally based fusion movement that stays its course has the potential to assist this birthing of a third Reconstruction. And I believe that is why extremists are not waiting like they did from 1868 to 1896 and from 1954 to 1968, but they are attacking it right now because they see it.
"They are reacting to a future they cannot stop and I believe that the South is once again going to transform the nation."
We suppose it's possible. But it would certainly take a while. Republicans' grip on power in North Carolina has never been stronger, and voters made it even tighter in elections just three months ago. North Carolina has gone from red to purple in recent years, but purple to blue?
Barber is leading a "mass mobilization" in Raleigh this Saturday as part of his "Forward Together Moral Movement." He wouldn't speculate on how many people would show up. He did make clear that he and the grassroots network he has built have no intention of going away anytime soon.
-- Taylor Batten
Posted by The Observer Editorial Board at 3:12 PM