Civil rights pioneer speaks of nonviolence to ETX students

Civil rights pioneer speaks of nonviolence to ETX students

MARSHALL, TX (KSLA) - A man credited as a pioneer of the civil rights movement spoke at an ArkLaTex college Thursday to give the students a message about nonviolent resistance.

The Rev. James Lawson, who marched and worked closely with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., spoke at Wiley College in Marshall, Texas, about his experiences and how they relate to fighting for civil rights in the current political climate.

"When you look at non-violent actions in the last 100 years, they have been more effective than violence," Lawson said.

King described him as "the leading theorist and strategist of nonviolence in the world."

"It is critical," Lawson said. "There's no other way to change the nation."

That is a message he wanted to pass along to the students Thursday.

"The young bring new life, new energy. They bring an enthusiasm and passion for living that we older folk have tended to lose."

Students like Ciara Campbell say it's a pleasure to be able to hear from someone like Lawson. "As just a black individual, a young black woman, it's very vital to hear someone that has fought for us to even be in college today and have a right to have an education that's equal to any other race."

Lawson said with today's protests and political climate with Donald Trump's presidency, it doesn't fall on just one group of people to fight in what he calls effective political social struggle.

"We adults have a primary responsibility to join with every generation in making this happen."

Lawson spoke as part of Wiley College's Distinguished Lecture Series.

In addition to working closely with King, Lawson is credited with training emerging civil rights leaders, including Congressman John Lewis.

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