Tag: sit-in protests

Civil Rights Activist Rev. James Lawson Honored with New Scholarship at Vanderbilt University

Rev. James Lawson (l) and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (photo via ocregister.com)

via jbhe.com

A new scholarship fund has been established at Vanderbilt University to honor James M. Lawson Jr., a leading figure in the civil rights movement and an associate of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The new scholarship was made possible by a gift from Doug Parker, an alumnus of the Graduate School of Management at Vanderbilt, the CEO of American Airlines, and a new trustee of the university, and his wife Gwen.

The new scholarships will be given to students from underrepresented groups who have shown a commitment to civil rights and social justice.

Lawson, enrolled at the Vanderbilt Divinity School in 1958. While a student he helped organize sit-ins at lunch counters 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 form 2006 to 2009. An endowed chair at the Divinity School was named in his honor in 2007.

Source: https://www.jbhe.com/2018/07/new-scholarship-at-vanderbilt-university-honors-rev-james-lawson/

Judge in South Carolina Throws Out Sit-In Convictions for “Friendship Nine”

29CAROLINAWEB1-videoSixteenByNine540-v2
A judge in Rock Hill, S.C., vacated the convictions of nine black men who were arrested in 1961 for sitting at a whites-only lunch counter. (Photo by Megan Gielow for The New York Times)

Rock Hill, South Carolina (CNN) A South Carolina judge on Wednesday threw out the convictions of the Friendship Nine, who were jailed in 1961 after a sit-in protest in Rock Hill, South Carolina, during the civil rights movement.

“Today is a victory in race relations in America,” said Bernice King, daughter of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., said in a news conference following the ruling. “It is a new day.”

The prosecutor who pushed for this momentous day, 16th Circuit Solicitor Kevin Brackett of Rock Hill, cited King’s father when explaining to CNN on Tuesday why he was motivated to take up the cause of the Friendship Nine: “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.”

The proceedings began at the Rock Hill Law Center with Municipal Judge Jane Pittman Modla reading from the original court record for each of the men. She asked each of the seven men in attendance — one has since died, while another had transportation issues — to stand as their names were called.

“Offense: trespassing. Disposition: guilty. Sentence: $100 or 30 days. Condition: sent to the chain gang,” she said for each of them, reading from the 1961 docket.

Retired state Supreme Court Justice Ernest Finney, who was the men’s defense attorney in 1961, entered the motion to have the sentences tossed out. The 83-year-old required help standing and propped himself on the table in front of him as he spoke.

“May it please the court, today I’m honored and proud to move this honorable court to vacate the conviction of my clients. These courageous and determined South Carolinians have shown by their conduct and their faith that the relief that they seek should be granted. I move for the convictions entered in 1961 to be vacated.”

Continue reading “Judge in South Carolina Throws Out Sit-In Convictions for “Friendship Nine””