The Rev. James Lawson spoke at Belmont University in conjunction with the sociology department’s Living Sociology Speaker Series. Lawson was expelled from Vanderbilt University in 1960 for training black and white students how to organize sit-ins and engage in other forms of social action to end segregation.
Lawson came to Nashville at the request of Martin Luther King, Jr., who called him “the leading theorist and strategist of nonviolence in the world.” Lawson’s passion for justice and nonviolence for all subjected him to imprisonment and threats of violence. Lawson, a retired ministor of Holman United Methodist Church in Los Angeles, is currently teaching for one year as a visiting professor and fellow at Vanderbilt’s Center for the Study of Religion and Culture.