On Thursday (January 11), L.A. City Councilwoman Heather Hutt is set to dedicate “the Reverend Lawson Mile” on Adams Boulevard. This commemorative event will pay homage to the iconic Civil Rights Leader, Reverend James Morris Lawson Jr., who led the Civil Rights Movement through the development and teaching of nonviolent protest techniques. These techniques were passed down to many influential leaders, such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Throughout his life, Reverend James Lawson fought tirelessly for civil rights, becoming an active participant in the Labor Movement, working with the American Civil Liberties Union, and championing the movements for reproductive, LGBTQ+, and immigrant rights.
Hutt, who introduced the motion extending the honor last year, will be joined by AFL-CIO President Yvonne Wheeler to unveil the street sign, following a peaceful march paying homage to Lawson and his teachings of unity. Community leaders, activists and members of the faith community are expected to attend.
The Office of Councilwoman Heather Hutt—who introduced the motion— is pleased to announce a special celebration in partnership with AFL-CIO President Yvonne Wheeler for the co-naming of a one-mile stretch of Adams Boulevard as the “Reverend James Lawson Mile”.
Lawson helped lead the historic 1960 Nashville sit-in at Woolworth’s lunch counter, the Freedom Rides in 1961, and throughout the 1960s continued to organize nearly every major student sit-in, march and protest. He taught “Nonviolence and Social Movements” at UCLA for more than 20 years and established a strong relationship with Cal State Northridge through his involvement with the university’s Civil Discourse and Social Change Initiative.
The one mile stretch on Adams Boulevard will extend from Crenshaw to Arlington and will include the Holman United Methodist Church where Lawson served as senior pastor for 25 years.
Last year, the City Council honored the civil rights, three days ahead of his 95th birthday, by declaring Sept. 22 as “Rev. James Lawson Jr. Day” annually in the city.
“Rev. Lawson’s leadership throughout the decade was instrumental in the desegregation of the South, and his teaching on nonviolence practices and civil disobedience continue to inspire generations of civil rights leaders across the country,” a city resolution read.