Two Universities Bestow Honors on Civil Rights Icon James Lawson

Vanderbilt Divinity School and the College of Arts and Science at Vanderbilt University in Nashville will launch the James Lawson Institute for the Research and Study of Nonviolent Movements this fall. The institute will nurture evidence-based research and education rooted in nonviolent strategies, create and deepen partnerships in Nashville, and develop leaders equipped to contribute to a thriving society.

Lawson, who has donated his papers to the Jean and Alexander Heard Libraries’ Special Collections and University Archives (See JBHE post.), will play an integral role in the direction and growth of the institute as a primary adviser.

Lawson enrolled at the Vanderbilt Divinity School in 1958. While a student he helped organize sit-ins at lunchcounters in downtown Nashville. In 1960, he was expelled from the university for his participation in civil rights protests.

Lawson completed his divinity studies at Boston University and then served as director of nonviolent education for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. From 1974 to 1999, Rev. Lawson was the pastor of the Holman United Methodist Church in Los Angeles. Lawson returned to Vanderbilt as a distinguished visiting professor from 2006 to 2009. An endowed chair at the Divinity School was named in his honor in 2007.

The University of California, Los Angles is also recognizing the contributions of Rev. Lawson by naming a building in his honor. Lawson has taught a labor studies course on nonviolence at UCLA for the past 20 years. In 2018, Lawson received the UCLA Medal, the campus’s highest honor.

The historic building that houses the UCLA Labor Center will be named for Rev. Lawson. UCLA has leased this building since 2002 and purchased the building in November 2020. The state has allocated $15 million to renovate the building that overlooks MacArthur Park.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Get the JBHE Weekly Bulletin

Receive our weekly email newsletter delivered to your inbox

Latest News

Two Black Scholars Appointed to Faculty Positions

The new faculty are Esther Jones at Brown University and Dagmawi Woubshet at the University of Pennsylvania.

Ph.D. in Counselor Education and Supervision is Established at Bowie State University

"The new program will help to increase the number of counselor educators within the counseling field and the number of competent Black counselor educators," says Dr. Otis Williams, chair of the Bowie State University department of counseling and psychological studies.

Elizabeth City State University Partners With the University of Tennessee Health Science Center to Increase Representation of Black Graduate...

"We are excited by this partnership with UT Health Science Center and the opportunities this brings to our students who wish to pursue advanced degrees," said Kuldeep Rawat, dean of the Elizabeth City State University School of Science, Health and Technology.

Kimberly White-Smith Honored for Outstanding Contributions to Teacher Education

“Through her leadership and scholarship, Dr. White-Smith inspires a new generation of teachers to serve students and approach their work with equity, compassion, and respect,” said Gail F. Baker, provost and senior vice president at the University of San Diego. 

Featured Jobs