Lawson, James M., 1928-


James Lawson Jr. made a significant mark on the history of the Civil Rights movement in Tennessee and in the South. He is best known in Tennessee history as the Vanderbilt Divinity School student who was expelled in 1960 over his leadership in the Nashville lunch counter sit-ins. Lawson also helped organize the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in Raleigh, North Carolina, in April 1960, and became one of the organization's key leaders. He later served as a Methodist pastor in Memphis from 1962 to 1974, where he led the sanitation workers' strike that provided the occasion for Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination in 1968. ("James E. Lawson Jr., 1928-," Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture.)

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