The Rev. James Lawson has spent a lifetime studying and practicing nonviolent resistance to injustice. As a draft resister who went to prison and a missionary who also studied the methods of Gandhi while in India, Lawson was well-positioned for an integral role in the American civil rights movement. Along with others, he helped to plan nonviolent demonstrations for Nashville students protesting segregated lunch counters. A friend of Dr. Martin Luther King, Lawson was heavily involved with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and the Fellowship of Reconciliation. While continuing his civil rights work, Lawson also served as the pastor of the Holman United Methodist Church in Los Angeles until his retirement in 1999.