Lawson is a civil rights pioneer and Vanderbilt Distinguished University professor. He was hailed by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. as "the leading theorist and strategist of nonviolence in the world." As a divinity student at Vanderbilt int he late 1950s, Lawson trainee and let activists in Nashville's successful sit-ins to end segregated lunch counters. He also played a leading role in the march on Washington and the 1968 Memphis sanitation workers' strike.

Lawsons' activism led to his expulsion from Vanderbilt. After protests by some at Vanderbilt, he was invited to return in 1960, but he chose to finish his degree elsewhere. In 2005, Lawson received Vanderbilt's Distinguished Alumnus Award and is now a Distinguished Visiting Professor.

See Vanderbilt University Special Collections and University Archives for collection information.

See Center for Study of Religion and Culture for more information on the Rev. James Lawson and the course.

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