ABMS Podcast

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Dr. Bernard Lafayette has led a life of service by putting his own life on the life to uphold the values and beliefs that all persons are created equal. A student activist in the Nashville, Tennessee, sit-in campaign of 1960, and a longtime staff member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee(SNCC), Bernard Lafayette gained a reputation as a steadfast proponent of nonviolence before Martin Luther King offered him the position of program director of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) in 1967. Dr. Lafayette was born in Tampa, Florida, on 19 July 1940. In 1958 he moved to Nashville to attend American Baptist Theological Seminary. As a freshman, Lafayette began attending weekly meetings arranged by JamesLawson, a representative of the Fellowship of Reconciliation who had contacted King during the Montgomery bus boycott. Throughout 1958 and 1959, in partnership with Nashville’s SCLC affiliate, Lawson taught nonviolence techniques to Lafayette and his fellow Nashville students, including John Lewis, James Bevel, and Diane Nash. Energized by Lawson’s classes and a weekend retreat at the Highlander Folk School, Dr. Lafayette and his friends began conducting sit-ins at segregated restaurants and businesses in 1959. When Ella Baker, under the auspices of SCLC, organized a conference of students on Easter weekend in 1960, Lafayette attended this conference that gave birth to SNCC. (Pronounced SNICK)