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Oral history interview with James Lawson, October 24, 1983

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Creator:Lawson, James M., 1928-
Creator:Blanchard, Dallas A.
Creator:Southern Oral History Program
Title:Oral history interview with James Lawson, October 24, 1983
Date:1983 Oct. 24

James M. Lawson was a key ally to Martin Luther King Jr. and also an important theoretician and practitioner of nonviolent protest. After briefly summarizing his childhood in Pennsylvania, Lawson describes how he became involved with the Fellowship of Southern Churchmen through activist preacher Will D. Campbell. Lawson's activism began during his time in Nashville, Tennessee. He relates how the Fisk and Vanderbilt students learned nonviolent protest, and describes how he helped organize and execute the Nashville sit-ins. Lawson devotes much of the interview to discussions of his relationship with various civil rights activists, including Kelly Miller Smith, Nelle Morton, Myles Horton, James Dombrowski, and James Holloway. Though Lawson was expelled from Vanderbilt because of his involvement with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and his participation in the sit-ins, he remembers that several of the faculty members offered him a great amount of personal support. He also reconciled with some of his opponents later in life. Lawson closes the interview by asserting that the actions of the 1950s and 1960s emerged from the union and labor rights movements of the 1930s and 1940s.

The Civil Rights Digital Library received support from a National Leadership Grant for Libraries awarded to the University of Georgia by the Institute of Museum and Library Services for the aggregation and enhancement of partner metadata.

Types:Transcripts | Sound recordings | Oral histories (document genres) | Text | Sound
Subjects:Lawson, James M., 1928- | Southern States--Race relations | Fellowship of Southern Churchmen | African Americans--Religion | African American civil rights workers--Tennessee--Nashville | Civil rights movements--Tennessee--Nashville | African Americans--Civil rights--Tennessee--Nashville | United States, Tennessee, Davidson County, Nashville, 36.1658899, -86.7844432
Collection:Oral Histories of the American South: The Civil Rights Movement
Institution:Documenting the American South (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
Contributors:University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Documenting the American South (Project)
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Forms part of Oral histories of the American South collection.

Persistent Link to Item:http://docsouth.unc.edu/sohp/F-0029/menu.html