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

AI Teaching Assistants Are Coming to Morehouse College

The AI teaching assistant initiative aims to provide students with an office hours setting they can access at any time, even when their professor is unavailable. Over the next three to five years, Morehouse hopes to establish an AI teaching assistant for every professor at the college.

Five African American Scholars Appointed to New Faculty Positions

The new faculty appointments are Judith Byfield at Cornell University, Nikki Hoskins at Harvard University, Edda Fields-Black at Carnegie Mellon Universityin Pittsburgh, Shawn Utsey at Virginia Commonwealth University, and Gwendolyn DuBois Shaw at the University of Pennsylvania.

Wiley University Launches New Honors College for Fall 2024 Semester

The Heman Sweatt Honors College will provide students with access to a dedicated living community, specialized classes and research opportunities, faculty mentors, and financial aid for tuition, internships, and study abroad experiences.

Two Black Historians in Higher Education Receive Prestigious Dan David Prize

Keisha Blain of Brown University and Cécile Fromont of Harvard University have received 2024 Dan David Prizes for their outstanding achievements as academic historians.

Featured Jobs