NASHVILLE — Civil rights champion Rev. James M. Lawson Jr. has donated a significant portion of his papers to Vanderbilt University.
In an announcement on Tuesday, Lawson said the university’s vision had never broken step with his, and he always expected his life’s journey to be chronicled at Vanderbilt.
He was one of several student leaders instrumental in lunch counter sit-ins in downtown Nashville, where African-Americans had not been served. He advocated nonviolent acts of civil disobedience as means of protest.
Lawson’s involvement in the rights movement in Nashville and elsewhere resulted in a vote by the executive committee of the Vanderbilt Board of Trust to expel him in 1960. While a compromise plan offered him the opportunity to complete his degree, Lawson enrolled at Boston University.
Libraries dean Connie Vinita Dowell said the collection will allow scholars to study Lawson’s legacy.