Lawson: Nashville was leader in nonviolent sit-ins

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Civil rights leaders say Nashville's lunch counter sit-ins were instrumental in ensuring that student demonstrators across the south would embrace nonviolence.

Speaking at a forum on Thursday to honor the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., civil rights leader James Lawson said that after the success of the Montgomery bus boycott there was a real question as to whether nonviolence could work again.

Then in 1960, Lawson successfully led the Nashville sit-ins after a series of nonviolence workshops for black student leaders.

Later that year, students from across the south met for a conference to discuss how to move forward. At the time, Nashville was the only city that had desegregated its lunch counters, and it had done so nonviolently.

Nonviolence became a part of the movement's mission statement.


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