Interview with Rev. James Lawson
QUESTION 1
INTERVIEWER:

OK, JUST FIRST OFF, CAN YOU TALK A LITTLE ABOUT THE TWO CHURCHES OF THE SOUTH? THE WHITE AND THE BLACK CHUCHES IN THE LATE FIFTIES, EARLY SIXTIES AND THE WHOLE, THE OBVIOUS CONTRADICTIONS THERE WERE IN THE BLACK COMMUNITY BETWEEN SEGREGATION AND CHRISTIANITY. WHAT WERE THE CHURCHES LIKE THEN IN ADDRESSING THESE QUESTIONS?

Rev. James Lawson:

In the fifties and the sixties? Well, you have to understand that the black church didn't see a contradiction in Christianity so much as we saw and recognized that the white church was just wrong. [laughter] They were just simply being unfaithful to what Christianity was supposed to be about. And the black church did try, even in those days, to teach that segregation was wrong, basically, that every person is somebody. That was one of our favorite phrases, one of the phrases that Martin Luther King lifted up I think so beautifully. And as a product of the black church, obviously, my own sense of dignity had its deep foundations in the Christian faith. And so that for me the white church was just wrong, they didn't know what they were talking about [laughter]. That's, that's not where you went if you wanted religion [laughter].