Interview with James M. Lawson, March 17, 1964

Project: Robert Penn Warren Civil Rights Oral History Project

  • Description
  • Play Interview
  • Rights & Request
  • Citation

Interview Summary

James M. Lawson (1928- ) was a longtime peace activist and served as a tutor on non-violence to civil rights leaders. Lawson began his work in Nashville, Tennessee where he trained citizens on non-violent tactics to use in sit-ins at downtown Nashville lunch counters. Lawson was one of the founders of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), he was an organizer of the Freedom Rides in 1961, and was chair of the Strategy Committee for the Memphis Sanitation Strike during which Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated. Lawson later protested the Cold War and the war in Vietnam. In this interview James M. Lawson describes his involvement with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and his organization of the sit-ins in Nashville. He discusses how his involvement with the sit-ins resulted in his expulsion from the Vanderbilt University Divinity School and the support he received from the Vanderbilt University faculty. Lawson describes the influence of the police on mob violence during civil rights demonstrations and how civil rights workers protect themselves against the threat of violence. Lawson discusses how his belief in nonviolence has been influenced by Gandhi's teachings and describes a connection between non-violence and Christianity.

Interview Accession

2002oh109_rpwcr004

Interviewee Name

James M. Lawson

Interviewer Name

Robert Penn Warren

Interview Date

1964-03-17

Interview Rights

All rights to the interviews, including but not restricted to legal title, copyrights and literary property rights, have been transferred to the University of Kentucky Libraries.

Interview Usage

Interviews may be reproduced with permission from Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, Special Collections, University of Kentucky Libraries.

Restriction

No Restrictions

Interviews may be reproduced with permission from Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, Special Collections, University of Kentucky Libraries.

All rights to the interviews, including but not restricted to legal title, copyrights and literary property rights, have been transferred to the University of Kentucky Libraries.

Add this interview to your cart in order to begin the process of requesting access to a copy of and/or permission to reproduce interview(s). 


Lawson, James M. Interview by Robert Penn Warren. 17 Mar. 1964. Lexington, KY: Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.

Lawson, J.M. (1964, March 17). Interview by R. P. Warren. Robert Penn Warren Civil Rights Oral History Project. Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries, Lexington.

Lawson, James M., interview by Robert Penn Warren. March 17, 1964, Robert Penn Warren Civil Rights Oral History Project, Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.





Persistent Link for this Record: https://kentuckyoralhistory.org/ark:/16417/xt7k3j390t8r


Share