Explorations in Black Leadership

Co-Directed by Phyllis Leffler & Julian Bond

Lawson, James (1928–)

Rev. Lawson met Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at Oberlin, after which he left school to become a field secretary for the Fellowship of Reconciliation and an organizer for the Nashville student movement’s 1960 sit-in campaign. His time in jail as a conscientious objector to the Korean War and as a Methodist missionary in India led to his famous work teaching nonviolent resistance workshops for the Freedom Riders movement. He chaired a sanitation worker’s strike in Memphis in 1968 before serving in Los Angeles as pastor of the Holman United Methodist Church. In 2009 he returned to teach at Vanderbilt University, from which he had been expelled in the 1960s as a result of his sit-in work.