Interview with Rev. James Lawson
QUESTION 24
INTERVIEWER:

OUTSIDE INFLUENCES ON STUDENTS LIKE INTERNATIONAL INFLUENCES [unintelligible] EARLY SIXTIES THERE WAS A SENSE OF YOUNG PEOPLE AS STUDENTS MOVING TOGETHER OR, IN OTHER WORDS, WHY WAS IT STUDENTS IN THE EARLY SIXTIES THAT WERE MOVING? STUDENTS HAVE ALWAYS TRADITIONALLY BEEN, YOU KNOW, HAD THAT FREE-TIME ELEMENT, BUT WHY IN THE SIXTIES, WAS IT INTERNATIONAL REASONS OR WERE THERE OTHER REASONS THAT CAUSED [unintelligible] THESE STUDENTS WHO WERE SEEN IN THE VANGUARD AT THAT POINT? YOU CAN GO AHEAD, LET'S START.

Rev. James Lawson:

Well, I think it was students in the United States at that particular time because we'd had a Martin Luther King and a Montgomery boycott that had impacted many minds. John Lewis testifies to that, Jim Bevel, and then as basically organizations in the community began to talk about these matters and open up opportunities, students were among the first to see them and to take advantage of them. For example, in the workshops in Nashville, Jim Bevel said when I, in the process of the teaching, raised issues about Vietnam which I did in all of those workshops back then, said, "Well you're crazy, but I think you're going to do something about segregation, so I'm with you." So he later converted of course and saw the international scene but I would say that he would be a typical illustration who started out primarily because he thought something could happen. Stokely Carmichael said this to me many times in the sixties.