As a college student, John Lewis learned the philosophy and the strategies of nonviolent direct action from his mentor, Rev. James Lawson. Lawson, Lewis, local ministers and students organized a sit-in campaign in 1960 at downtown Nashville lunch counters to challenge the legally sanctioned custom of denying service to African Americans. The student protesters faced harassment, attacks, arrest and jail and their courage inspired many subsequent desegregation campaigns in Nashville and across the country.
Visit the John Lewis: Get in the Way program website for more information.