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A modern-day civil rights champion tells the stirring story of how he helped start a movement to bridge America’s racial divide.   Over the summer of 2013, Rev. William Barber led more than a hundred thousand people at rallies across North Carolina to protest cuts to voting rights and the social safety net, which the state’s conservative legislature had implemented. These p A modern-day civil rights champion tells the stirring story of how he helped start a movement to bridge America’s racial divide.   Over the summer of 2013, Rev. William Barber led more than a hundred thousand people at rallies across North Carolina to protest cuts to voting rights and the social safety net, which the state’s conservative legislature had implemented. These protests, which came to be known as Moral Mondays, have blossomed into the largest social movement the South has seen since the civil rights era—and, since then, it has spread to states as diverse as Florida, Tennessee, Wisconsin, and Ohio. In The Third Reconstruction, Rev. Barber tells the story of how he helped lay the groundwork for the Moral Mondays movement and explores the unfulfilled promises of America’s multiethnic democracy. He draws on the lessons of history to offer a vision of a new Reconstruction, one in which a diverse coalition of citizens—black and white, religious and secular, Northern and Southern—fight side-by-side for racial and economic justice for all Americans. The Third Reconstruction is both a blueprint for activism at the state level and an inspiring call to action from the twenty-first century’s most effective grassroots organizer.


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A modern-day civil rights champion tells the stirring story of how he helped start a movement to bridge America’s racial divide.   Over the summer of 2013, Rev. William Barber led more than a hundred thousand people at rallies across North Carolina to protest cuts to voting rights and the social safety net, which the state’s conservative legislature had implemented. These p A modern-day civil rights champion tells the stirring story of how he helped start a movement to bridge America’s racial divide.   Over the summer of 2013, Rev. William Barber led more than a hundred thousand people at rallies across North Carolina to protest cuts to voting rights and the social safety net, which the state’s conservative legislature had implemented. These protests, which came to be known as Moral Mondays, have blossomed into the largest social movement the South has seen since the civil rights era—and, since then, it has spread to states as diverse as Florida, Tennessee, Wisconsin, and Ohio. In The Third Reconstruction, Rev. Barber tells the story of how he helped lay the groundwork for the Moral Mondays movement and explores the unfulfilled promises of America’s multiethnic democracy. He draws on the lessons of history to offer a vision of a new Reconstruction, one in which a diverse coalition of citizens—black and white, religious and secular, Northern and Southern—fight side-by-side for racial and economic justice for all Americans. The Third Reconstruction is both a blueprint for activism at the state level and an inspiring call to action from the twenty-first century’s most effective grassroots organizer.

30 review for The Third Reconstruction: Moral Mondays, Fusion Politics, and the Rise of a New Justice Movement

  1. 4 out of 5

    Karen

    This is the second book I've read from the Justice and Spirit Unitarian-Universalist Book Club here on goodreads. The book club unfortunately seems to have withered away. There was a little discussion of the Rosa Parks biography in January, but last month there were maybe 1 or 2 comments and there was virtually nothing this month on this book at all, except for a thread I started with the subject line, "Anybody There?" This is too bad, because I think this book deserves a wide readership, especi This is the second book I've read from the Justice and Spirit Unitarian-Universalist Book Club here on goodreads. The book club unfortunately seems to have withered away. There was a little discussion of the Rosa Parks biography in January, but last month there were maybe 1 or 2 comments and there was virtually nothing this month on this book at all, except for a thread I started with the subject line, "Anybody There?" This is too bad, because I think this book deserves a wide readership, especially outside North Carolina. This book probably best serves as a primer for people who didn't previously know much about Rev Barber or Moral Mondays. It is written in an accessible and conversational, rather than scholarly, style. There aren't any footnotes. The book follows Barber's life from his birth as the son of a preacher man in North Carolina, through his time at Duke Divinity School, his early calling preaching at Fayette Street Christian Church in Martinsville VA, his work as a pastor at Greenleaf Christian Church in Goldsboro NC, and with the North Carolina NAACP. I would have found much of this section unremarkable except for the tremendous physical challenge that struck Barber just as he was turning 30. One Friday night in August, he "woke up at home and could not move." He spent the next 3 months in the hospital, eventually diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis, an extreme form of arthritis that fuses bones in place. In describing this time of his life, he also mentions off-handedly that his father died one summer, then his mother-in-law, then his daughter had brain surgery, then his son had a vitamin deficiency problem. And now this. "I didn't have it in me to keep going," he admits. Later he has an encounter in the hospital with an amputee woman in a wheelchair who prays for him. She is never identified or even found by the medical staff, but he calls her his amputee angel, and after that he is able to get out of his hospital bed. He will still need to walk with a walker for the next 12 years, but he keeps on working and ministering. As a Unitarian-Universalist and a scientist, I'm generally skeptical of stories that even sound a little bit like "faith healing." I don't like being in crowds of people and revivals scare me. I'm much more of a "small, still inner voice" type of person, and the smaller, stiller, and inner-er the voice, the better. But this story moved me. It moved me because it seemed believable. Barber wasn't miraculously healed by the touch of an angel, he was given the strength to go on by a courageous woman who was herself wounded. He says he didn't even take her offered hand. Most of the rest of the book deals with forming the coalitions that will make up, first, the Historic Thousands on Jones Street People's Assembly (somewhat awkwardly abbreviated as HKonJ) and then the Moral Mondays movement. There are two major themes that run throughout this section: the first is how welcoming and inclusive the movement is. Theirs is a coalition of "liberals and conservatives, Christians, Jews, and Muslims, the documented and the undocumented, black, white, and brown sisters and brothers." The second theme is one of morality based in faith. I was concerned that, despite the promise of the first theme, I would find this second theme to be off-putting. I don't just believe that no single religion has a monopoly on morality, I believe that morality is separate from religion altogether. I'm with novelist Mary McCarthy, who said "from what I have seen, I am driven to the conclusion that religion is only good for good people." But I'm also willing to give Barber the benefit of the doubt and accept faith as something different from religion. His story is one of small steps forward followed by intense backlash. Faith is what enables him to hang on through the backlashes and keep fighting without getting discouraged and giving up. "If we had accepted the liberal consensus that suggests that faith is either divisive or inherently regressive, we would have never had the resources to stand our ground after the initial backlash of 2008." And he points out that even those who struggle with religion can have faith in something greater than themselves. "We were also learning how to trust one another and a Higher Power beyond us when we faced uncertainty." The Appendix for Organizers at the end is also a gem, in particular where he emphasizes the importance of empowering local people to advocate on their own behalf. "Helicopter" activism, in which "national leaders" are flown in to speak to reporters doesn't work, in his view. "We do not speak for those who can speak for themselves. We do not create a platform for politicians to speak for those who can speak for themselves." His emphasis on empowering local, "everyday" people, and on giving a voice to the voiceless is a refreshing change from what many of us have come to know as politics as usual. The backlash is strong right now, in North Carolina yes, but everywhere else too. We need Barber's voice, and the voices of his fusion coalition now more than ever.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Joe

    It took me a while to figure out that this book is, in essence, a sermon. Readers looking for a history of the Moral Mondays movement, or a blow-by-blow memoir, or a handbook for successful fusion politics, may be disappointed in this book's relative lack of detail. But consider the book's form - one man's story of his religious and political journey, with frequent and intentional repetition of points of theology, history, and law, and expert code switching to reveal just enough of Rev. Barber's It took me a while to figure out that this book is, in essence, a sermon. Readers looking for a history of the Moral Mondays movement, or a blow-by-blow memoir, or a handbook for successful fusion politics, may be disappointed in this book's relative lack of detail. But consider the book's form - one man's story of his religious and political journey, with frequent and intentional repetition of points of theology, history, and law, and expert code switching to reveal just enough of Rev. Barber's personal side. This is a sermon, designed to convince people that multiracial, interfaith, multi-issue coalitions can defeat big money elitist extremists in state politics... indeed, it seems to be Rev. Barber's view that only fusion politics holds much hope of success for a "third reconstruction" of American society. This is a very broad but very short book, and there are a number of points where I would be interested in more depth, from the Reconstruction history of North Carolina to the theological views of Niebuhr and Hauerwas on Christian social action. That said, it's largely convincing, a fast and engaging read. It's probably most successful at forcing the questions "why not here? why not me?'

  3. 5 out of 5

    Brandi

    "The Third Reconstruction: Moral Mondays, Fusion Politics, and the Rise of a New Justice Movement" by William J. Barber II, Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove is a comprehensive, well-written book regarding the social movement/current events topic of Moral Mondays. I would recommend this book to any student or anyone who likes to keep apprised of current affairs and wants a better understanding of the movement. I rated this book five stars because it gave me a deeper understanding of this New Justice Move "The Third Reconstruction: Moral Mondays, Fusion Politics, and the Rise of a New Justice Movement" by William J. Barber II, Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove is a comprehensive, well-written book regarding the social movement/current events topic of Moral Mondays. I would recommend this book to any student or anyone who likes to keep apprised of current affairs and wants a better understanding of the movement. I rated this book five stars because it gave me a deeper understanding of this New Justice Movement, lead by Reverend Barber, and the issues that the movement seeks to address. I won my copy of this book from the Goodreads.com website and I appreciate the opportunity to read and review it.

  4. 5 out of 5

    James Klagge

    This was published in January of 2016. I bought it this summer, but didn't read it until after the election. So while the book leaves us a sense of optimism, one knows now how things in fact went. (Also the book was apparently finished before the NC Bathroom Bill.) BUT, this movement is for the long-run and NOT predicated on this or that particular event. So while all the fears of this book came to a head in November (well, the NC Governors race is still a toss-up), that did not somehow disconfi This was published in January of 2016. I bought it this summer, but didn't read it until after the election. So while the book leaves us a sense of optimism, one knows now how things in fact went. (Also the book was apparently finished before the NC Bathroom Bill.) BUT, this movement is for the long-run and NOT predicated on this or that particular event. So while all the fears of this book came to a head in November (well, the NC Governors race is still a toss-up), that did not somehow disconfirm the book. Just yesterday I saw that Rev. Barber was arrested in a #FightFor15 civil disobedience protest in Raleigh for a livable wage. His political theology is built for the long-run, and he has seen it that way all along. The interest of this movement is grass-roots organizing that he describes as "fusion" politics. By this he means bringing people together across a variety of differences that might be thought to divide them. Also, his approach is emphatically local/regional. He does not believe in and does not want to be a national leader who swoops in to give support and then leave. The vast majority of his work has been in North Carolina, and gave rise to the Moral Mondays movement. The hope is that this book will inspire similar movements elsewhere.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    This is a must read not only for all North Carolinians, but for all those interested in progressive change in America. The Rev. Dr. Barber describes his upbringing, his calling to preach and the connection to social justice. His bravery to travel roads I never asked my African-American secretary to travel because I knew the Klan controlled them, yet holding my own breath as a Jew. The book described the history of fusion politics, beginning in the late 1800's, and his ability to form coalitions This is a must read not only for all North Carolinians, but for all those interested in progressive change in America. The Rev. Dr. Barber describes his upbringing, his calling to preach and the connection to social justice. His bravery to travel roads I never asked my African-American secretary to travel because I knew the Klan controlled them, yet holding my own breath as a Jew. The book described the history of fusion politics, beginning in the late 1800's, and his ability to form coalitions with diverse groups: labor unions, teachers, unemployed, agricultural workers, across racial and religions lines--similar to that of Dr. King--all converging upon the state Capitol Building in Raleigh. They began to assemble every Monday, thus the term Moral Mondays... I was witness to one of these events and it was absolutely incredible to see the people finally begin to rise against the special interests such as ALEC and the Koch brothers.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Bev

    This book is a quick read, but the impact is enormous and inspiring. I am an atheist and Rev Barber refers to us as "those that struggle with faith". Not necessarily true, but the very fact that we are included is what this movement is all about. The book essentially recounts the fusion coalition that was built in North Carolina that took the stance that all actions of the legislature must be looked at from the point of view regarding their morality in the largest sense of the word (not the narr This book is a quick read, but the impact is enormous and inspiring. I am an atheist and Rev Barber refers to us as "those that struggle with faith". Not necessarily true, but the very fact that we are included is what this movement is all about. The book essentially recounts the fusion coalition that was built in North Carolina that took the stance that all actions of the legislature must be looked at from the point of view regarding their morality in the largest sense of the word (not the narrow sense claimed by the right wing christians) If it harms anyone in the community, we are all harmed is the underlying credo and thus many diverse groups came together to demonstrate over matters that might not have directly affected their constituency, but they were willing to support one another. Highly recommended.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Tomislav

    As I usually read and review science fiction, and sometimes non-fiction science or mainstream fiction, this book is quite outside my normal span. I read it because this is the 2016-2017 Common Read of my religious affiliation (Unitarian Universalism). A group discussion guide is available at the time of this review, from http://www.uua.org/books/read/share. The Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, is president of the North Carolina chapter of the NAACP, and pastor at Greenleaf Christian Church in Gold As I usually read and review science fiction, and sometimes non-fiction science or mainstream fiction, this book is quite outside my normal span. I read it because this is the 2016-2017 Common Read of my religious affiliation (Unitarian Universalism). A group discussion guide is available at the time of this review, from http://www.uua.org/books/read/share. The Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, is president of the North Carolina chapter of the NAACP, and pastor at Greenleaf Christian Church in Goldsboro NC. He attended Duke Divinity School, and was ordained in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) tradition. This book was written with Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove based on recorded interviews with Barber, and each chapter has what seems to me to be a sermon-like nature. The initial chapters describe Barber’s background as the son of a minister growing up in the black belt of North Carolina, and his own convoluted call to ministry. As a not Southern, not Black, and not Christian person – I found this difficult to relate to, but interesting none-the-less. Shortly after settling at Greenleaf Christian Church and accepting chairmanship of the North Carolina Human Relations Commission, he faced a personal health crisis that left him needing a walker. From this base, he pursued again community activism, emphasizing fusion with other justice-oriented groups outside his church. Diversity is a hallmark of the movement which he sees himself in, in opposition to the divide-and-conquer Southern Strategy of the Republican Party. Blacks and poor Whites alike face poverty, but are divided politically. Racial justice is Barber’s passion, but he finds moral common ground with environmental, women’s health, and LGBTQ groups – even while recognizing that some of their positions could create wedges in his own religious community. For me, the strongest writing was in the last chapter, when he places events in the greater historical context of the post-civil war reconstruction of the late 19th century, and its later reactionary deconstruction, then the civil rights reconstruction of the 1960s with its own later reactionary deconstruction. The weakest writing for me was that which spoke to his own Southern, Black, and Christian community. I have gained an understanding, at least, of the context of his movement. That movement is primarily a moral one, that also has political outcome. Here are my chapter by chapter notes: Prologue: Go Home. 1: Son of A Preacher Man. I understand Barber's call in an abstract way, but there is little to relate to here for a not Southern, not Black, and not Christian person. 2 My First Fight. unsuccessful union organizing, stand-alone fight from his congregation. successful environmental dumping fight, with a community/fusion approach. 3 Learning to Stand Together. Barber moves back to NC from VA. Settles as pastor at Greenleaf Christian Church and chairs NC Human Relations Commission. Contracts ankylosing spondylitis. Seeks a vision beyond Niebuhr's Christian Realism - Stanley Hauerwas post-liberalism. Finds "Spirit" already at work in the community outside his church. 4 From Banquets to Battle. Barber elected head of NC NAACP. Fusion of 14 diverse justice issues, common issues in their work. Several thousand rally and march on NC state capitol in 2005. HKonJ People's Assembly. 5 Resistance is Your Confirmation. Pushback in NC. 6 Many a conflict, many a doubt. Civil disobedience - when and how to use it. The value of having visible diversity on social issues. Some history of the racism of the Republican Southern Strategy. 7 The Darkness Before the Dawn. ALEC-funded take-over of NC state government 8 A Moral Movement for the Nation – Barber received calls for “helicopter” leadership nationally, did not go but sent teams of advisors. Reminded me of seeing Jesse Jackson at the Scott Walker protests in Madison, Wisconsin that same year. 9 America’s Third Reconstruction. Historical context of post-civil war reconstruction and Jim Crow deconstruction in NC, the civil rights reconstruction of the 1960s and subsequent deconstruction of republican Southern Strategy Appendix for Organizers. Fourteen Steps Forward Together. • Engage in indigenously led grassroots organizing across the state. • Use moral language to frame and critique public policy, regardless of who is in power. • Demonstrate a commitment to civil disobedience that follows the steps of nonviolent action and is designed to change the public conversation and consciousness. • Build a stage from which to lift the voices of everyday people impacted by immoral policies. • Recognize the centrality of race. • Build a broad, diverse coalition including moral and religious leaders of all faiths. • Intentionally diversify the movement with the goal of winning unlikely allies. • Build transformative, long-term coalition relationships rooted in a clear agenda that doesn’t measure success only by electoral outcomes. • Make serious commitment to academic and empirical analysis of policy. • Coordinate use of all forms of social media: video, text, Twitter, Facebook, and so forth. • Engage is voter registration and education. • Pursue a strong legal strategy. • Engage the cultural arts. • Resist the “one moment” mentality; we are building a movement! Afterward by Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove. – Text actually written by Wilson-Hartgrove after recorded interviews with Rev. Dr. Barber.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Robert D. Cornwall

    I remember the first time I heard the Reverend William Barber II speak. It was right after the Trayvon Martin verdict came in. George Zimmerman was found not guilty of murder. I was in Orlando for the General Assembly of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), which was meeting in the same venue as the NAACP national convention. Rev. Barber came over to speak to us as a representative of the NAACP. His message that evening was powerful, calling for us to embrace the cause of racial justice. I remember the first time I heard the Reverend William Barber II speak. It was right after the Trayvon Martin verdict came in. George Zimmerman was found not guilty of murder. I was in Orlando for the General Assembly of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), which was meeting in the same venue as the NAACP national convention. Rev. Barber came over to speak to us as a representative of the NAACP. His message that evening was powerful, calling for us to embrace the cause of racial justice. We still had a speaker to hear that night, and he was good, but it was Rev. Barber, a Disciple pastor himself, that caught my attention. I've had several opportunities to hear him speak since then, and I also was able to read his previous book Forward Together: A Moral Message for the Nation. I have found his message of a Third Reconstruction to be a powerful one, and one that is needed at this moment in time. In this book, Barber with the assistance of Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, introduces us to the New Justice Movement that forms what he calls the Third Reconstruction. This is part memoir, part sermon, part history, and part call to action. Barber is the President of the North Carolina chapter of the NAACP, a Disciples pastor, and founder of the Moral Monday Movement. His vision is one of a fusion politics that builds coalitions across racial, ethnic, political, religious lines. In his analysis this is the third such effort to emerge since the end of the Civil War. The first Reconstruction was that effort to build a new society in the South that would enable former slaves to enter fully into society. A fusion politics emerged that elected numerous Black candidates to office, including the US Senate and governorships. This first Reconstruction came to an end beginning in the 1870s, with a final fall in the 1890s as Jim Crow emerged, segregating black and white, and putting an end to full participation of Blacks in the South. The Second Reconstruction was the Civil Rights Movement that emerged in the 1950s and led to monumental changes in American social policy, including laws that banned overt segregation and gave voting rights to Blacks. Jim Crow had its match. Then came a reaction, the Southern Strategy that found a new way of disestablishing African Americans. This time it was more covert, but it was just as effective in limiting the advancement of people of color. It was a divide and conquer effort that resegregated the South through private schools, reduced funding for public schools, diminished health care and so-called tough on crime legislation that impacted African Americans more than other community. This has led to what is known as the "New Jim Crow," or mass incarceration, often on disproportionate sentences on drug offenses. The Third Reconstruction is now underway. Expressions of it include the election Barack Obama, which in turn led to new forms of reaction. The Moral Monday and Forward Together Movements are expressions of what Barber calls fusion politics. It is for him deeply rooted in his faith, but the partnerships cross faith lines. This isn't any set of victories. Political extremists on the right have found an effective way of obtaining power by playing fears of the other. Dividing and conquering people of color and whites, especially the poor, has allowed this to occur. We're seeing it in current politics, with attacks on Muslims and immigrants. Building walls rather than bridges is the politics of the day. In response, Barber is calling for the creation of new fusion alliances. What is important to note here is that he has no interest in helicoptering in as the "national voice." Success requires indigenous coalitions that build bridges. While class is part of the equation, we must not lose sight of the role race plays in the conversation. This is a powerful book Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove has done a wonderful job transmitting Barber's vision of a Third Reconstruction. This is a must read book. It is prophetic! So take and read so that we might move into a new day, where fear no longer divides!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Christine Zibas

    This is the story of the disenfranchised of North Carolina and how they rose up to create a grass roots movement called "Moral Mondays." The people who have populated the Moral Mondays movement are a societal extension of the anti-Wall Street protests, the #BlackLivesMatter surge, the slipping middle class angst, and other expressions of Americans who have been forgotten by their government. Like so many others of color, in poverty, women, gays, immigrants, laborers, and other groups cast aside b This is the story of the disenfranchised of North Carolina and how they rose up to create a grass roots movement called "Moral Mondays." The people who have populated the Moral Mondays movement are a societal extension of the anti-Wall Street protests, the #BlackLivesMatter surge, the slipping middle class angst, and other expressions of Americans who have been forgotten by their government. Like so many others of color, in poverty, women, gays, immigrants, laborers, and other groups cast aside by the system of American government, there has been a coalition of interests in North Carolina who saw their time had come to stand up to their state government. By joining together, thus thwarting the "divide and conquer" tactics of their opponents on the far Right, the people learned they had power -- or, at least, a voice. Like the earlier two "reconstructions" (after the Civil War and the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s), black religious leadership (in this case, Reverend Barber) helped join together these sometimes conflicting groups to work together to see that the sum is larger than the parts. Together, these groups could make a difference and occasionally even change outcomes. Barber and his coauthor Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove are unflinchingly honest about the setbacks along the way. Yet they underscore an important principle. This isn't about one battle, one point in time, it's about a legacy of a larger social movement that has been going on for decades, long before even its most senior members were born. And hopefully, it will continue forward, one step at a time.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Dana Reynolds

    We live in a time and a world of tremendous tensions in the human community. No place is that more evident than within the United States (which hardly seems united at all), especially in the American South. I have been living through these tensions, as we all have, and I haven't been coping very well with it all. In fact, it has been outright depressing as one new murder of an innocent black man after another shows up on our news' feed. Happily, for those who have been in a similar place, we have We live in a time and a world of tremendous tensions in the human community. No place is that more evident than within the United States (which hardly seems united at all), especially in the American South. I have been living through these tensions, as we all have, and I haven't been coping very well with it all. In fact, it has been outright depressing as one new murder of an innocent black man after another shows up on our news' feed. Happily, for those who have been in a similar place, we have Rev. William Barber's book to give us a ray of hope in these times of despair. It is NOT just a hopeful story of successes, for Barber is quite candid about the opposition's backlash and how devastating it was. In spite of those defeats, he shows us a framework for advancing a moral agenda within a social change movement. I finished this book eager to join in solidarity with a Moral Monday Movement should one materialize near me. My hope is that you can read this book so that you will be ready when a Moral Monday Movement comes to a neighborhood near you!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Mike Stewart

    My rating is less a reflection of the book's literary merit and more the regard in which I hold its author. Barber possesses tremendous moral clarity and is truly dedicated to working for the "least of these". I have had the privilege of hearing him speak on three occasions, including at the Unfinished Dream conference t Montreat in 2015 and when he gave the National Sermon on Race last month. He always rocks the house. Despite Franklin Graham's pretensions, Barber is the conscience and spiritua My rating is less a reflection of the book's literary merit and more the regard in which I hold its author. Barber possesses tremendous moral clarity and is truly dedicated to working for the "least of these". I have had the privilege of hearing him speak on three occasions, including at the Unfinished Dream conference t Montreat in 2015 and when he gave the National Sermon on Race last month. He always rocks the house. Despite Franklin Graham's pretensions, Barber is the conscience and spiritual leader of North Carolina, if not of the nation.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Nik Renshaw

    “But Niehbur has cautioned that ‘immoral society’ would always require those seeking justice in this world to compromise and calculate their political effectiveness. Yes, a moral analysis might get preachers engaged in a campaign for a union, Christian realism said. But effective work for justice in the real world would require real political power. It wasn’t enough to stand up for what was right. Before you stand, you also need to know who has your back.” p. 20 “Psalm 94 insisted that moral diss “But Niehbur has cautioned that ‘immoral society’ would always require those seeking justice in this world to compromise and calculate their political effectiveness. Yes, a moral analysis might get preachers engaged in a campaign for a union, Christian realism said. But effective work for justice in the real world would require real political power. It wasn’t enough to stand up for what was right. Before you stand, you also need to know who has your back.” p. 20 “Psalm 94 insisted that moral dissent is still necessary even when there is no reasonable expectation of political success. When we stand for right, even if we feel that we are standing by ourselves, we are in good company.” p. 20 “We also stand with William Lloyd Garrison, the nineteenth-century abolitionist who denounced slavery when its abolition was a political impossibility. When the mayor of Boston had him jailed, supposedly for his own safety, Garrison wrote these words on the wall of his cell: ‘William Lloyd Garrison was put into this cell on a Wednesday afternoon, Oct. 21, 1835, to save him from the violence of a “respectable” and influential mob, who sought to destroy him for preaching the abominable and dangerous doctrine that “all men are created equal” and that all oppression is odious in the sight of God.’” p. 21 “The New Testament Letter to the Hebrews offered an apt summary statement for the posture required by the faith I was learning. ‘But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved.’ In a movement based upon moral dissent, defeat does not cause is to doubt our purpose or question the ends toward which we strive. We do not belong to those who shrink back, for we know the tragic truth of history. When oppressed people shrink back, they will always be forgotten and destroyed. Faith-rooted moral dissent requires us that we always look forward and toward the vision of what we know we were made to be. But defeat can and must invite us to question our means. While realism can not determine the goals of our faith, it must shape our strategy in movements of moral dissent.” p. 24 “But Martinsville showed me that Jesus’ insistence that we love our enemies is more than an ethical ideal. In the struggle for human freedom, it is also a practical necessity. If love does not drive out the fears that so easily divide us, we will never gather together in coalitions strong enough to challenge those who benefit from injustice.” pp. 25-26 “I came back to North Carolina knowing both the fights I couldn’t run away from and something about what it would take to win them. Only a fusion coalition representing all the people in any place could push a moral agenda over and against the interests of the powerful. But such coalitions are never possible without radical patience and stubborn persistence.” p. 28

  13. 4 out of 5

    Melissa Stacy

    "The Third Reconstruction" is a good, important book about the need to build moral coalitions to alleviate extremist legislative measures taking place in American politics today. Anyone interested in social activism should read this book. Anyone who is working on behalf of any kind of moral movement, whether it's fair wages for all, women's rights, Black Lives Matter, etc. -- should definitely read this book.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Tyler Wagner

    Reverend Barber lays out a vision of how communities can come together in what he calls "fusion coalitions" for social change. Fusion coalitions are intersectional, they lift up the voices of those who are most affected by justice issues and they organize and mobilize a broad cross section of people. Reverend Barber shares the powerful story of this work in North Carolina and shares an important way forward in this present moment. A quick read and important to read.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Rica Kaufel

    Though deeply rooted in faith, this book is not preachy. Rather, it combines social justice work with faith, historical analysis, a call to action, and a vision for the future that has left in me a sense of calm hope that I have not felt in a while. Maybe all is not lost.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jean

    I learned a lot by reading this book. We can achieve so much by working together on things we agree on. We don’t have to agree on everything!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Bob Reutenauer

    “It’s a Heart Problem”: Reverend Dr. Barber’s Long Summer Reverend Barber’s North Carolina “Moral Monday” movement, which inspires duplication as he travels the nation, has become a force in many lives in a very short time. Reverend Barber spoke all over the land this summer including at the Democratic National Convention.“It’s a Heart Problem,” he repeated convincingly all summer long while calling attention to how extremists expect to remake America by defunding state government in the interest “It’s a Heart Problem”: Reverend Dr. Barber’s Long Summer Reverend Barber’s North Carolina “Moral Monday” movement, which inspires duplication as he travels the nation, has become a force in many lives in a very short time. Reverend Barber spoke all over the land this summer including at the Democratic National Convention.“It’s a Heart Problem,” he repeated convincingly all summer long while calling attention to how extremists expect to remake America by defunding state government in the interest of wealthy people and corporations. They hope that curbing federal health care and unemployment benefits to millions of qualified people in the states will be accepted as necessary for a healthy business climate. Cuts in public education, deregulation of polluting industries, denial of equal protection for gay and lesbian people, skyrocketing incarceration, and suppression of voting rights of minorities are key planks of this agenda. The recent and continuing North Carolina experience of fight back against this well funded extremism is detailed in Reverend Barber’s 2016 book The Third Reconstruction: Moral Mondays, Fusion Politics, and the Rise of the New Justice Movement. What does a 21st century social justice coalition look like? This is the question he asks in the book and that his organizing and preaching answers. First, it must be a moral movement. “We cannot let narrow religious forces hijack our moral vocabulary,” he charges. “At the heart of all our religious traditions are truth, justice, love, mercy.” It must be a broad and unified movement of justice loving people united in a coalition and committed to each others issues and to a strategy of “fusion” that can make real the promise of democracy. “We cannot come together to work for the common good by ignoring our deepest values…. We stand together where our values unite us and learn to respect one another where our traditions differ.” All manner of people are welcomed — religious and secular, union members and merchants, immigrant rights activists and environmentalists, gay and straight, young and old, rich and poor, employed and unemployed, of all national origins, racial, ethnic and cultural identities. No one says it will be easy. It takes a long time to make history. “Faith-rooted moral battles do not advance on schedules that make sense to us,” he writes partially as explanation for his title : The Third Reconstruction. The First Reconstruction followed the Civil War emancipation of four million enslaved people, new constitutional guarantees of equal protection and full citizenship rights including voting. The Second Reconstruction defines the civil rights era when federal laws (1964, 1965, 1968) were enacted to bring these guarantees (13th, 14th, 15th) to life. One hundred years later. And we are still counting and being counted. Resistance is our confirmation. We have enemies and they are powerful. Extremist reactionary measures and violence rolled back gains in economic and racial progress of the first two Reconstructions. Barber delights in reminding us that the the “good news” of the bible “ends not with Jesus taking Jerusalem through a popular uprising” but his execution as an enemy of the state. Two thousand years later and the world’s bequeathed from Rome and Israel measure calendar time by the date of that execution! Nonviolent civil disobedience in the face of similar dangers, he exhorts, “is a tool to demonstrate our capacity for struggle” tomorrow and over the long haul of the Third Reconstruction.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Tonstant Weader

    The Third Reconstruction: How a Moral Movement Is Overcoming the Politics of Division and Fear discusses how the powerful Moral Monday movement developed and how it binds a multiracial, multi-issue coalition together for a common liberation agenda. The Reverend Dr. William J. Barber may be a familiar face to activists or watchers of the ineffable Joy Reid’s AM Joy news show, but most people were introduced to him when he spoke at the Democratic National Convention with an electrifying speech, exp The Third Reconstruction: How a Moral Movement Is Overcoming the Politics of Division and Fear discusses how the powerful Moral Monday movement developed and how it binds a multiracial, multi-issue coalition together for a common liberation agenda. The Reverend Dr. William J. Barber may be a familiar face to activists or watchers of the ineffable Joy Reid’s AM Joy news show, but most people were introduced to him when he spoke at the Democratic National Convention with an electrifying speech, explaining that many fundamental issues are not issues of left versus right, but right versus wrong. Barber’s theology comes direct from the text of the Bible, from Micah 6:8, “To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” I think it is interesting that is also a verse often quoted by Hillary Clinton. It articulates the requirement that people of faith do service in the cause of justice and inspires many liberal and progressive activists. Barber in his search for a theological foundation for justice and social activism, contrasts Reinhold Niebuhr’s advocacy of practical theology (Christian Realism) with Stanley Hauerwas’ focus on the church as witness which Barber called Ecclesial Realism and found both of them lacking, finding a middle way. He tells of his first struggle for justice, in support of workers who were seeking to organize, and its abject failure, teaching him the importance of uniting the broadest possible community. From here, he tells the story of his organizing experience and lessons learned that culminate in the amazing organizing they are doing in North Carolina. The Third Reconstruction is a restorative book to read in these dire and depressing days when the forces of hatred and bigotry think they are triumphant. Although written before the election, Barber gives many examples of how losses are often precursors to success and how success provokes reaction. It is a reminder that the ferocity of racism unleashed this year is a reaction to growing awareness of systemic racism and growing power of people of color at the ballot box. The Third Reconstruction is very steeped in theology and faith. Barber naturally incorporates Biblical references in every thought, speech, and action. Barber usefully addresses how a multi-issue coalition can work together, bringing together people who do not necessarily agree on everything, uniting pro-choice activists with faith-based ministries that oppose abortion, for example. It is worth reading just for the examples of how to prevent the frequent deployment of wedge issues that divide natural allies. Barber finishes the book with fourteen point bullet list of lessons for organizers who also want to move forward together with a multiracial, multi-issue coalition. The Afterword by Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove describes the writing process and their long friendship, a friendship that exemplifies that reaching across the aisle, forming alliances that seem unlikely at first. This is a small, but powerful book and well worth reading for activists who believe the only way forward is working together for justice. Post-election analysts are eager to suggest turning from racial and social justice issues to work on a populist class struggle. Barber reminds us that justice cannot be compartmentalized. I received a copy of this book from the publisher through LibraryThing. ★★★★ http://tonstantweaderreviews.wordpres...

  19. 4 out of 5

    Chris Halverson

    The Third Reconstruction is an inspiring book. It tells the tale of Pastor Barber and his lifelong commitment to Jesus and to fusion politics. Fusion politics being a movement that takes multiple concerns seriously—he tells of gathering together 14 groups and writing up their grievances and what stood in the way of each group gaining justice—and finding that while the grievances were different, the obstacles holding back justice were the same. And so they covenanted together to stick up for one The Third Reconstruction is an inspiring book. It tells the tale of Pastor Barber and his lifelong commitment to Jesus and to fusion politics. Fusion politics being a movement that takes multiple concerns seriously—he tells of gathering together 14 groups and writing up their grievances and what stood in the way of each group gaining justice—and finding that while the grievances were different, the obstacles holding back justice were the same. And so they covenanted together to stick up for one another, for Women’s Rights groups to show up for the sake of those seeking voting rights, for black clergy to show up in support of gay folk… you get the idea—the fires of injustice can only be smothered by a quilt of many peoples. Barber points back to older examples of fusion politics, the multi-racial poor people’s groundswell during Reconstruction, the alliances King made with labor unions during the Civil Rights Era, and most recently the Moral Mondays held by this 14 point coalition of which Barber is a part. He weaves prophetic faith into a community organizing tradition—being willing to lose more than a secular organizer would, because he holds onto faith that God has already won. This coalition won the expansion of voting rights in North Carolina that likely allowed President Obama to win in that state. After this, they faced a severe back-lash from moneyed interests. In fact, the very education of children in North Carolina is endangered, and Barber’s group has to push back. The culmination of this story, at least for me, was Barber being invited to a Moral Monday in backwoods North Carolina in what he described as “Klan-country.” He was met with a sea of rural white-folk, Eisenhower Republicans, who were up for Moral Monday, but wanted to make sure they were not being co-opted by the Democratic Party. And this might actually be rather instructive—as you likely know Barber preached at the Democratic National Convention. I wonder if this betrayed one of his ideals, never run candidates, only shape the narrative so those in power have to do the right thing? The book ends with 14 steps for living out fusion politics. They are well worth heeding. 1. Relationships have to be built on the ground. 2. Don’t run from moral language. 3. Be willing to suffer. 4. Make sure those most impacted by the policies you talk about have a voice. 5. Any moral movement in the USA needs to wrestle with the question of racial equality. 6. The coalition must be broad and diverse. 7. Like really broad, bring in those who sometimes seem to be your enemies. 8. Be clear about your agenda. 9. Make sure the numbers add up. 10. Use social media to coordinate things. 11. Engage in voter registration and education. 12. Have a good legal team on your side. 13. Have a good set of artists on your side. 14. It’s a movement not a moment.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Joseph Young

    I have been waiting for something like this book for a long long time. For over twenty, thirty years, I knew there was something wrong with Christianity and religion with the way it was being shown on TV and in politics, the way religion was being used to hate the other, the weak, and the powerless. What Reverend Barber writes and says has brought me to tears. At long last it feels like there is an awakening, an acknowledgment that we are not alone, not crazy. Our status as the other is not a ju I have been waiting for something like this book for a long long time. For over twenty, thirty years, I knew there was something wrong with Christianity and religion with the way it was being shown on TV and in politics, the way religion was being used to hate the other, the weak, and the powerless. What Reverend Barber writes and says has brought me to tears. At long last it feels like there is an awakening, an acknowledgment that we are not alone, not crazy. Our status as the other is not a justifiable reason to attack our dignity nor our rights. I feel the embers of something long dormant have been stirred into a flame, as he shows us what it is we need to fight for, fusion politics, where all causes are part of the whole, supported by the whole. The book is a historical summary of the first 2 Reconstructions, where citizens en masse took control of the government to demand changes for the people, and then the 'Redemption', in which big power interests took the power back. Barber makes a moral case for the uniting of the different small interests, even when big power interests seek to divide. Sadly they often succeed, though the ideas in this book are a way to fight these losses. Some of the quotes I loved from the book: XV: "...I, too, am an atheist. ... if we were talking about the God who hates poor people, immigrants, and gay folk, I don't believe in that God either." 18: "Before you get loud, be sure you're not wrong." 25: "we had been vulnerable to defeat because we allowed ourselves to be divided." 45-46: On dangers, we "accommodate ourselves to an 'acceptable' amount of injustice, conceding that things will, after all, never be perfect in this broken world." 67: "We can never be friends with out enemies, of course, until they stop trying to destroy us. But even in the midst of a struggle, Jesus said, we can love our enemies." People today often talk about a war for the soul of Islam, between Isis and regular Muslims. However, I didn't realize the depth of the war for the soul of Christianity, between those who hate and divide, and those who unite and fight for everyone. Considering the rise of Trump, a self-proclaimed 'Christian' as well as other Tea Party elements, this is a very timely book, one I would recommend everyone to read.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Chris Keck

    If you like books about organizing, then this is a good book for you. It does a good job of weaving Rev. Barber's personal story with the "Story of Us" for their movement in North Carolina. I have worked to organize people and organizations and this accurately reflects many of the challenges bringing groups of people together. Organizing is a grind. Read or listen through to the end. The Appendix for Organizers is a great addition. I don't agree with everything the appendix says and it's still a If you like books about organizing, then this is a good book for you. It does a good job of weaving Rev. Barber's personal story with the "Story of Us" for their movement in North Carolina. I have worked to organize people and organizations and this accurately reflects many of the challenges bringing groups of people together. Organizing is a grind. Read or listen through to the end. The Appendix for Organizers is a great addition. I don't agree with everything the appendix says and it's still a key part of the book. Giving clear next steps is essential.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Grady Ormsby

    The Third Reconstruction: Moral Mondays, Fusion Politics, and the Rise of a New Justice Movement by The Reverend Dr. William J. Barber II with Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove is part biography, part history and part manual for social change. The three reconstructions are the historic Reconstruction of the nation after the Civil War, the Civil Rights Era of the Sixties and today’s present focus on people politics. Barber’s political career is centered on a quote from The Bible, Micah, 6:8: “He has told The Third Reconstruction: Moral Mondays, Fusion Politics, and the Rise of a New Justice Movement by The Reverend Dr. William J. Barber II with Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove is part biography, part history and part manual for social change. The three reconstructions are the historic Reconstruction of the nation after the Civil War, the Civil Rights Era of the Sixties and today’s present focus on people politics. Barber’s political career is centered on a quote from The Bible, Micah, 6:8: “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.” Barber tells of his childhood, his family, his education and his heroes. He shares his thorough knowledge of the history of the struggle for justice in North Carolina. He provides a fascinating exposition of fusion politics which is non-partisan, based in morality and centered on the coalition of similar interests. This is a politics in which the struggle is permanent. Giving up is never a concern once one realizes that there is no end goal. The struggle for freedom, dignity and justice is perpetual. At the end of the volume is an "Appendix for Organizers: Fourteen Steps, Forward Together." It is a compendium of tactics, strategies and guidelines for successful community action. One does not have to be a captain or even a foot soldier in the struggle for freedom, dignity and justice. Just remember. It’s the little things. Do something in your world today to make your neighborhood a bit better. When Henry David Thoreau’s friend Ralph Waldo Emerson visited him in jail, Emerson was taken aback at his friend’s moral dissent. “Henry,” Emerson reportedly asked through the jail cell bars, “What are you doing in there?” To which Thoreau replied, “Ralph, what are you doing out there?”

  23. 5 out of 5

    John Bhadelia

    This was an interesting book. It gave a lot of insight into the fight in Reverend Dr. William J. Barber II's life, and the more recent struggle for equality in North Carolina, but there was not much in regard to the larger struggle in the country. A lot of that is due to the idea Mr. Barber espouses, that this fight can only happen in each state and we do not need the helicopter saviors like during the Civil Rights era, but every day people building coalitions in each state. The biggest struggle This was an interesting book. It gave a lot of insight into the fight in Reverend Dr. William J. Barber II's life, and the more recent struggle for equality in North Carolina, but there was not much in regard to the larger struggle in the country. A lot of that is due to the idea Mr. Barber espouses, that this fight can only happen in each state and we do not need the helicopter saviors like during the Civil Rights era, but every day people building coalitions in each state. The biggest struggle I have with that is if it is a state by state fight, states will be in different stages of equality at any given time. So the larger forces at work trying to keep African Americans, Latinos, LGBTQ people, etc. disenfranchised and their voice hidden from the public will be able to pour their money into any single place gaining ground. If this justice movement and coalition system worked more with national groups like Black Lives Matter or the reinvigorated NAACP that Mr. Barber has worked with, then there could be grassroots movements in every state at the same time so there were no single targets. Then we wouldn't have the issue of outside money coming in since every state would be worried about their own state legislatures. Just my two cents.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Frances

    Over the summer of 2013, the Rev Dr William Barber II led more than 100,000 people at rallies across North Carolina that became known as "Moral Mondays." This is the story of a movement that brings together a diverse coalition to work for racial and economic justice for all Americans. This short book combines elements of memoir and sermon in weaving together the historical background from the First Reconstruction after the Civil War, the Civil Rights movement, fear-based backlash, and the beginn Over the summer of 2013, the Rev Dr William Barber II led more than 100,000 people at rallies across North Carolina that became known as "Moral Mondays." This is the story of a movement that brings together a diverse coalition to work for racial and economic justice for all Americans. This short book combines elements of memoir and sermon in weaving together the historical background from the First Reconstruction after the Civil War, the Civil Rights movement, fear-based backlash, and the beginnings of the Moral Mondays movement with the biblical, theological, and organizational foundation for the Third Reconstruction. Rev Barber writes, "Nothing less than a Third Reconstruction holds the promise of healing our nation's wounds and birthing a better future for all." This is a hopeful and inspiring book that offers insights for those who long for a more just future and commit to work for it.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Joyce

    This is a great, easy read to understand the history of fusion politics in North Carolina, as well as what has been happening in the statewide politics in the past eight years. It's also going to help fire you up to join the movement! Even if you are a North Carolinian, you'll learn stuff you didn't know. The book would also be very informative for people in other states interested in using NC as a blueprint for building a moral movement for justice in your own state. If you find Reverend Barber This is a great, easy read to understand the history of fusion politics in North Carolina, as well as what has been happening in the statewide politics in the past eight years. It's also going to help fire you up to join the movement! Even if you are a North Carolinian, you'll learn stuff you didn't know. The book would also be very informative for people in other states interested in using NC as a blueprint for building a moral movement for justice in your own state. If you find Reverend Barber's personal history in the beginning slow going, you can skip ahead a little ways without losing the thread of the book. The book is so short though, I'd recommend just reading it straight through for the best experience.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Sharron

    It reads like a sermon, and even though I'm not of the same religion the theological sections were beautiful (It was appropriate reading during the ten days of awe!). I really appreciated reading why he feels he can work with Planned Parenthood and work in a coalition with those fighting for LGBTQ rights. I hadn't realized that is was more than a few years back that the organizations began their fusion movement. One phrase in the book was quite shocking to read, I unfortunately had taken a sip o It reads like a sermon, and even though I'm not of the same religion the theological sections were beautiful (It was appropriate reading during the ten days of awe!). I really appreciated reading why he feels he can work with Planned Parenthood and work in a coalition with those fighting for LGBTQ rights. I hadn't realized that is was more than a few years back that the organizations began their fusion movement. One phrase in the book was quite shocking to read, I unfortunately had taken a sip of iced tea and the library book will never be the same (p.92!) I've never had a favorite part of a sentence in a book before.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Alfons

    Great read and especially now considering current political climate in America. Rev Barber does a fantastic job explaining history of American Civil rights and how plans employing collective action by diverse groups have been successful and are necessary to be successful. He notes how it's best for locals to take the lead when confronting issues within their community. I really liked and will review daily his 14 Steps Forward presented in the last chapter is one that I'll review daily. I strongl Great read and especially now considering current political climate in America. Rev Barber does a fantastic job explaining history of American Civil rights and how plans employing collective action by diverse groups have been successful and are necessary to be successful. He notes how it's best for locals to take the lead when confronting issues within their community. I really liked and will review daily his 14 Steps Forward presented in the last chapter is one that I'll review daily. I strongly recommend reading this book.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Josh

    Very interesting guy, and a good book if you want to hear his story about how he is bringing together disparate progressive organizations in North Carolina that became the "Moral Monday" protests. The problem is I have seen/heard him before and this book is basically his stump speech on paper. I was thinking it was a deeper dive, and I was wrong. If you don't know him, I'd suggest this easy read, but if you've seen him speak or heard his story, know this will be old news.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Mary

    I loved this book for the historical context and its relevance to our current social and political issues. If you are troubled by the fragmentation of our current political and social movements, the Fusion politics of the Moral Mondays movement in NC has a blueprint for working together for change. There is section at the end that gives advice on how to do this in your local area. Weaving Dr. Barber's personal story with biblical story and current events makes a compelling read.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Dan

    I found this to be a great book. There are many passages which serve as stunning quotes. The author is an exemplary Christian one can admire. His passion is social justice. As the head of the North Carolina chapter of the NAACP as well as a church minister, Barber has lived his life in the trenches serving humankind. He is the leader of the Moral Mondays movement in his home state. This movement is spreading to other states.

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