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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with James Lawson, October 24, 1983. Interview F-0029. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Lawson's impressions of Will Campbell

Will Campbell introduced Lawson to his contacts, including James Holloway. Lawson reflects on the respect he has for Campbell.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with James Lawson, October 24, 1983. Interview F-0029. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

DALLAS A. BLANCHARD:
Jim Holloway?
JAMES A. LAWSON:
Yes. I've met Jim a number of times. He was Southern Churchman Editor of a , a writer, know him more from that division, though we been the same in a couple of occasions.
DALLAS A. BLANCHARD:
OK.
JAMES A. LAWSON:
I guess Will and I also in Nashville ... a couple of times I had lunch with him and Will.
DALLAS A. BLANCHARD:
OK. What can you tell me about Will Campbell? How would you characterize him?
JAMES A. LAWSON:
OK. Well, I personally had almost complete confidence in Will. He is one of the people with whom I talked over a great, great variety of things. We not only ... we traveled together at different times during the Little Rock crisis, for example, and the school situation, he and I, on two or three occasions went into Little Rock together and stayed together and worked together on various contacts. I was very active ... '57, '58 in fact, Ernest Green and I, one of the school students, the first to graduate have been friends ever since because of my involvement with them.
DALLAS A. BLANCHARD:
Uh ha.
JAMES A. LAWSON:
So I came to have a very, very high appreciation of Will. He, I think of many of the people, took a position more theologically like my own, namely the radical character of the scriptures: Loving the enemy, turning the other cheek, care about the sinner and the oppressed and the bruised and, of course, I carried that to the place where I recognized the necessity of the transformation of the KKK member and the hard-nosed segregationist and frequently in the hostility that I gained across the years have always fought to see such persons in that light, so Will probably more than anyone that I have met, specially in the white community, came closer to my own biblical position on the revolutionary character of the gospel. He and I didn't always agree about the efficacies of non-violence. I don't know if he would claim to be a practitioner, but he at least had a clear understanding of the non-violent demand that I tried to teach, practice, and preach.