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The Rev. James Lawson: Civil Rights and Black Lives Matter

The Rev. James Lawson is a United Methodist pastor and recognized leader of the civil rights movement in the United States. Lawson was an advisor to the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

In July 2016, the United Methodist News Service sat down with Lawson at a workshop hosted by the Children’s Defense Fund. Lawson spoke about the Black Lives Matter movement and how it is an extension of the civil rights movement of a half century ago.

Transcript:
“Talk about the civil rights movement tends to cover up the reality of how change took place. But there was a great social awakening which is still going on in the United States that is there. And we have seen substantial change. BLM is exposing still another change in the movement towards our future because the issue of police brutality and killing is the issue of slavery. It’s the issue of the lynchings of the 20th century for which we have more than 6000 documented experiences. It is the issue of deaths that occur in jails that are called suicide, but there are beatings and killings. So, as I have looked at this whole business I recognize that the BLM represents the 21st century and the time now where the black community is willing to say these killings are unjustified. They must be exposed and they must stop. We were not ready for that then. And we don’t have yet enough white people and other people convinced that it’s time to be rid of it, which is the task that has to happen. You have to allow history to move at its own pace.”

This video was produced by United Methodist Communications in Nashville, Tenn. Media contact is Fran Walsh.

This content was first published on August 9, 2016.