A 50th anniversary is a special occasion, and the Surry County Branch of the NAACP has arranged for a special guest to help it mark that milestone.
The Rev. Dr. William Barber II, the state president of the organization, will speak Sunday at a worship service here as part of celebration activities this weekend for the local branch.
Payne Memorial Triumphant Pentecostal Holiness Church, located at 183 Marshall Farm Road just outside Mount Airy off N.C. 103, will host the service. It begins at 4 p.m., with the public invited.
Barber is well-known for his campaigns targeting poverty and other social-justice issues in North Carolina, and equally for his oratorical abilities.
“He is a very dynamic speaker,” said Anise Hickman, an organizer for Sunday’s service who also will emcee the event. It has the theme “Fifty Years of Demanding Political, Industrial and Social Equality.”
Faye Carter, president of the Surry branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, said the group considers itself fortunate to have Barber visiting as part of its anniversary celebration.
“He is marvelous,” Carter said.
The celebration will be highlighted by a Black and Gold Gala Saturday night at J.J. Jones Alumni Auditorium.
“He was unable to be here on Saturday, so we’re really excited he’s going to be part of this celebration,” Hickman said of Barber’s appearance at Sunday’s worship service.
“I hope to have a packed house,” she added. “This actually is going to conclude our 50th-anniversary celebration.”
Barber has visited Surry County twice in recent years. In April, he was part of a statewide bus tour that swung through Mount Airy to focus attention on poverty. In 2008, Barber was the keynote speaker at the annual Freedom Fund Banquet of the local NAACP.
In addition to serving as state president of the organization, Barber is the pastor of Greenleaf Christian Church Disciples of Christ in Goldsboro, a 120-year-old congregation with more than 400 members and 30 active ministries.
He also chairs the Rebuilding Broken Places Community Development Corp. in Goldsboro. It is a non-profit organization involved with constructing affordable single-family homes and senior citizen housing and providing job training, affordable child care and inner-city revitalization.
Barber has held adjunct faculty positions at both Duke University and North Carolina Central University, and is the author of the book “Preaching Through Unexpected Pain.”
He graduated cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in public administration from North Carolina Central University, before earning a master’s of divinity degree from Duke Divinity School and his doctoral degree from Drew University in Madison, N.J.
Reach Tom Joyce at 719-1924 or email@example.com.