Portraits of Freedom Riders: Then and Now
More than 300 Freedom Riders were imprisoned in 1961. Where are they now? Find out in this excerpt from Breach of Peace.
James Lawson
James Lawson, Then
Born: September 22, 1928, in Uniontown, Pennsylvania. Grew up in Massillon, Ohio. Son and grandson of Methodist ministers. Joined CORE [Congress of Racial Equality] in 1948, his freshman year at Baldwin Wallace College in Berea, Ohio. Withdrew his draft registration in 1949, later served 13 months in federal prison. Was a missionary to India 1953–56.

Then: Methodist minister and divinity student in Nashville; in 1959 began a weekly nonviolence workshop, from which emerged the Nashville Student Movement and, in large part, SNCC [Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee]. Expelled from Vanderbilt University Divinity School in 1960 for his activities as a leader of the Nashville sit-ins.