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VOL. 45 | NO. 48 | Friday, November 26, 2021

Nashville to name school for civil rights icon James Lawson

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NASHVILLE (AP) — Nashville will name its newest high school after civil rights leader the Rev. James Lawson.

The Metro Nashville Public Schools board voted last week to name the Bellevue-area school after Lawson. The school will replace the current Hillwood High School. It's slated to open in August 2023.

Lawson, a Black Methodist minister, led nonviolence workshops for student leaders as a Vanderbilt University divinity student.

Those sessions culminated in the 1960 sit-in protests that led to the successful integration of Nashville's lunch counters.

This July, Vanderbilt announced the launch of the James Lawson Institute for the Research and Study of Nonviolent Movements.

Lawson's involvement in the rights movement resulted in a vote by the executive committee of the Vanderbilt Board of Trust to expel him in 1960. While a compromise plan offered him the opportunity to complete his degree, Lawson enrolled at Boston University.

Lawson has since donated a significant portion of his papers to Vanderbilt.

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