Interview with Rev. James Lawson
QUESTION 16
INTERVIEWER:

NO, I JUST WANT TO KNOW SPECIFICALLY HOW DID--

Rev. James Lawson:

Yes. Did people oppose the student movement? Absolutely! In the black community, yes. The national office of the NAACP told student chapters of the NAACP in Nashville, in Richmond, Virginia, in Knoxville, no, do not participate in the sit-in. It is not the way to do it, that was the national office's policy in 1960. So right straight across the South there were all sorts of people in the black community [who] said that's not the way to go. That's one of the reasons why I said from the very beginning that the Montgomery bus boycott is as much a criticism of black leadership and black sort of adjusting to the evil as it was to the society as a whole. That's why I said in the sixties, in 1962, that the sit-in movement and the movement for social change was as much a word to the black community, the word to the black community was that we did not have to settle for passivity; we did not have to settle for this evil. And that each of us had a responsibility, in whatever way necessary to begin to get liberated, begin to see that we had to organize to do it. The system cannot exist without our consent to it.