“Education, Preparation, Negotiation”: Reverend James M. Lawson, Jr. and His Legacy of Nonviolence

The libraries are pleased to announce a timely exhibition on the life of Reverend James M. Lawson, Jr. now on display in Central Library’s foyer and on an accompanying online exhibition.  The exhibition contains documents, photographs and realia from more than seven decades of Lawson’s life which capture moments of protest, moments of teaching and moments of history in the making of this remarkable life of ministry, activism and vision.

Notable manuscripts include Lawson’s 1947 preaching license issued when he was only 18 years old, a selective service card  with an order to report for military service in the Korean War, “Our Statement of Purpose,” a document created by members of the Nashville Non-Violent Movement to instruct participants in the 1960 Nashville Sit Ins on the principles of nonviolence, and a police pass and flyers for the 1968 Memphis Sanitation Workers’ Strike where strikers would witness the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Also on exhibit for the first time are a collection of snapshots that give us rare insights into Lawson’s activities in India as a young missionary for the Methodist Church.

Vanderbilt University is honored to be the place of record for this highly honored and revered alumnus, a pillar of the Civil Rights Movement, the Reverend James M. Lawson, Jr.

The items will be on display from October 2022 – January 2023.

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