James Lawson

Rev. James Lawson, a third-generation Methodist pastor, was a leading tactician of the Civil Rights Movement. He took part in CORE's early Freedom Rides in the late 1940s and served 14 months in prison as a conscientious objector during the Korean War. After his release he was a missionary in India where he learned Gandhi's principles of non-violence.
A seminary professor at Oberlin College introduced him to Dr. Martin Luther King, who urged him to come South, saying "We don't have anyone like you down there." Lawson transferred to Vanderbilt University in Nashville where he was the southern director for CORE and trained SNCC activists (including Diane Nash and James Bevel) in nonviolent resistance. In 1962 he began serving as pastor of Centenary Methodist Church in Memphis and was chairman of the 1968 Sanitation Workers' Strike which Dr. King was participating in at the time of his assassination.
Click here for the UMC News Service "Following MLK's Dream" segment on Rev. Lawson…/the-rev.-james-lawson-sharing-mlks-dre…