Lawson to receive Congressional Gold Medal
In the course of his life as an activist, the Rev. James Lawson has endured racial epithets, accusations of anarchy, threats of physical violence, expulsion from a leading university, overnight lock-ups and months in prison.
Now, the government which often opposed Lawson’s work for civil and human rights in decades past is poised to award him one of the nation’s highest honors: The Congressional Gold Medal. The resolution, co-sponsored by a group of representatives including fellow Civil Rights icon John Lewis, was introduced in the House of Representatives Wednesday, Nov. 14.
For the 90-year-old Lawson, a United Methodist minister whom Lewis has called “the architect of the Civil Rights movement,” the recognition is “humbling,” but also an affirmation that his work for nonviolent social change has not been in vain. “It makes me aware that what I was given in my call by God, even before I knew what it was, has borne some good fruit,” Lawson reflects. “But the work of translating the Gospel in terms of nonviolence is not over. I still have a calling for that work, and I still have a responsibility to God to do it.”