Interview with Reverend Will Campbell
QUESTION 7
INTERVIEWER:

TELL ME ABOUT THAT LETTER WITH JIM LAWSON AND HIS ATTEMPTS TO, HE WAS GOING TO RESIGN RATHER THAN LETTING THEM EXPEL HIM.

Rev. Will D. Campbell:

Well, the pressures had been mounting, of course, for days and Jim Lawson, being a considerate and a gentle person basically, agreed to withdraw voluntarily from Vanderbilt University, from the divinity school, called me and asked me to come over to go over the letter he had prepared the night before—he and his wife, who had been my secretary, Dorothy Wood—and my position was, no, you don't do that. You don't let them off the hook, that you're going to go, you're going to have to leave Jim, but make them kick you out so that they and the world will know what this, where this institution stands and what it's up to, which is what he did then. When he went over to the meeting that had been convened for the purpose of announcing that Mr. Lawson had agreed to withdraw and for the sake of harmony and peace in the Vanderbilt fellowship here. And when Jim said, I'm not withdrawing, of course, there was a great deal of hostility and the Dean of [unintelligible]asked all outsiders to leave and so the press people started leaving and then he looked at me and said, this is a family matter. And, so I, being a gentleman, gentleman too, started to leave, and Jim and some of the other white students caught my jacket and said to the Dean, he is family, which I considered that I was family. I had been very much involved in the entire situation because of the relationship of his wife being my secretary and working with me, and he being a friend also, but had he resigned on his own. I think it would have been a totally different, different picture that the world would have got of what was going on in Nashville, because they would have shrugged it off and said, now everybody's happy, there's no, but in reality this—there might have been a little smooth scar healed over, but underneath it was still seething cauldron of infection which had to erupt, had to erupt sometime, and it might as well have been then, and there

CAMERA CREW MEMBER:

300 FEET REMAINING ON CAMERA ROLL 319.