The Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, a prominent modern-day social activist and the featured speaker at Thursday evening’s 2023 Edward Shapiro Distinguished Lecture Series event, smiles as he addresses the audience at Doermann Theatre in University Hall.
Hosted by the UToledo’s College of Arts and Letters, the annual lecture is made possible by the Shapiro endowment left by the late Dr. Edward Shapiro, professor emeritus of economics who retired in 1989, to provide opportunities for the University to bring world-renowned speakers to Toledo.
Barber is the co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign, a relaunch of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s 1968 campaign against poverty. He served as pastor of Greenleaf Christian Church in Goldsboro, North Carolina for 30 years and is the founding director of the Center for Public Theology and Public Policy at Yale Divinity School. He also is the recipient of a dozen honorary degrees, the Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Award and has received a MacArthur Fellowship.
Past Shapiro Distinguished Lecture speakers include Tony Kushner, Elie Wiesel, Toni Morrison, Audra McDonald, Wynton Marsalis and Jon Meacham.