Home » RIP Rev. James Lawson: Tributes Pour In After Civil Rights Icon Dies At 95

RIP Rev. James Lawson: Tributes Pour In After Civil Rights Icon Dies At 95

by Black America Web

There’s been a steady stream of tributes and an outpouring of condolences following the announcement Monday that the legendary Rev. James Lawson had died.

The iconic civil rights leader was 95 and left behind a rich, decades-long legacy of fighting for racial equality. Once Lawson’s death was reported, the groups and organizations that benefited the most from his hard work seemingly spoke the loudest while recalling the good and important work he did in his life.

Lawson is being remembered in part for being a pastor, labor movement organizer and university professor. But Lawson’s legend began when he was much younger as a college student at Vanderbilt University in Tennessee, where he led powerful movements on campus, in the city of Nashville and beyond during the peak of the Jim Crow era.

As a student at Vanderbilt, he led sit-ins to have lunch counters desegregated in Nashville which eventually led to him being expelled from the university. Decades later, he was awarded by the institution for his work, being recognized as a distinguished alumnus who now has a scholarship in his name at Vanderbilt.

The Associated Press has more:

Lawson was a close adviser to the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., who called him “the leading theorist and strategist of nonviolence in the world.”

Lawson met King in 1957, after spending three years in India soaking up knowledge about Mohandas K. Gandhi’s independence movement. King would travel to India himself two years later, but at the time, he had only read about Gandhi in books.

The two Black pastors — both 28 years old — quickly bonded over their enthusiasm for the Indian leader’s ideas, and King urged Lawson to put them into action in the American South.

Lawson soon led workshops in church basements in Nashville, Tennessee, that prepared John Lewis, Diane Nash, Bernard Lafayette, Marion Barry, the Freedom Riders and many others to peacefully withstand vicious responses to their challenges of…

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