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Reverend James M. Lawson Jr. (1928-) is widely recognized as the pioneer of nonviolence in the American Civil Liberties Movement. He is an activist, minister, and a scholar of the Bible, as well as a living icon embodying the power of nonviolence in securing justice and peace. Dr. Lawson’s major strategic work involved college students who were called to organize and defend the civil rights and defy the inhumane laws of segregation for securing human dignity and equity.
Inspired by Mohandas Gandhi’s nonviolent methods in India, in the 1950s, Rev. Lawson led revolutionary sit-in workshops in Nashville, TN. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. described him as “the leading theorist and strategist of nonviolence in the world.” The movement was successful and resulted in desegregation of the downtown Nashville and become paradigmatic in other American nonviolent movements of the 1980s and 90s.He lives in Los Angeles where he continues to teach and advocate for nonviolent social change. His latest book is Nonviolence and Social Movements: The Teachings of Reverend James M. Lawson Jr