Love & Solidarity
James Lawson & Nonviolence In The Search For Workers' Rights
An exploration of nonviolence and organizing through the life and teachings of Rev. James Lawson.
Directed by Michael Honey
Produced by Michael Honey, Errol Webber
Photography: Errol Webber
Editor: Adam Mizrahi
Assistant Editor: Paul Lovelady
Assistant Director & Research Manager: Adam Nolan
Historical Advisor: Clayborne Carson
Supported by Fetzer Institute; Center for the Study of Community & Society, University of Washington Tacoma; UW Tacoma Staff, SEIU Local 925
[Note: Community screenings of LOVE & SOLIDARITY can be booked at Bullfrog Communities.]
"A must see for students, teachers, and activists." Premilla Nadasen, Assoc. Prof. History, Barnard College
LOVE & SOLIDARITY is an exploration of nonviolence and organizing through the life and teachings of Rev. James Lawson. Lawson provided crucial strategic guidance while working with Martin Luther King, Jr., in southern freedom struggles and the Memphis sanitation strike of 1968. Moving to Los Angeles in 1974, Lawson continued his nonviolence organizing in multi-racial community and worker coalitions that have helped to remake the LA labor movement.
Through interviews and historical documents, acclaimed labor and civil rights historian Michael Honey ("To the Promised Land: Martin Luther King and the Fight for Economic Justice") and award-winning filmmaker Errol Webber put Lawson's discourse on nonviolent direct action on the front burner of today's struggles against economic inequality, racism and violence, and for human rights, peace, and economic justice.
Grade Level: 9 - 12, College, Adults
US Release Date: 2016
Copyright Date: 2016
DVD ISBN: 1-941545-59-9
"If you have ever asked yourself who are the people that have made this country great, this documentary shows you the commitment, perseverance, and vision of Rev. Lawson in the fight for the civil rights and economic rights of the most vulnerable people in the United States."
Lucas Benitez, Founder, Coalition of Immokalee Workers
"Terrific film...I always wanted to introduce Rev. James Lawson to my American history students, since few people have done so much to change the United States for the better. Now he can come to my class, thanks to this forceful new film...Concise but sweeping, Love and Solidarity gives us Lawson up close-his rich voice and sharp intellect. But it also conveys his inspiring message about dignity through work and fair pay, and about strength through peace and non-violence."
Peter H. Wood, Emeritus Professor of History, Duke University, Author, Strange New Land: Africans in Colonial America, Co-author, Created Equal: A History of the United States
"An authentic portrait of this energetic, positive, provocative and deeply committed man...As a result of its open character, one starts to wonder how such non-violent tactics apply to other social issues around the globe, and what other things might be possible...The film succeeds in the things that Lawson feels are most important: constantly being critically challenged and transformed as a human being."
Sander Mensink, Global Policy Journal
"Lawson is a charismatic and motivating speaker and his mission is as relevant today as it was when he started over 60 years ago. Recommended."
Anne Shelley, Educational Media Reviews Online
"Rev. James Lawson's lifelong commitment to civil rights, worker empowerment, and nonviolence has shone like a beacon across more than a half-century of activism. Love and Solidarity tells his compelling story in a way sure to inspire today's would-be fighters for justice and peace. This is a film not to be missed!"
Joseph McCartin, Professor of History, Director of the Kalmanovitz Initiative for Labor and the Working Poor, Georgetown University
"Provides an invaluable consideration of Lawson's career...Paying welcome tribute to the now-octogenarian Lawson's long-unheralded achievements, this is highly recommended."
P. Hall, Video Librarian
"Can be guaranteed to generate lively classroom discussions about economic justice, unfettered market forces, and the present and past power structures in American society and hence in American politics."
Ronald C. Simons, Science Books and Films
"A thoughtful and moving portrait of one of the most influential living proponents of nonviolent social transformation, this film enables those concerned with contemporary social justice issues to gain insights from James Lawson's long career as an activist and teacher."
Clayborne Carson, Professor of History, Founding Director of The Martin Luther King, Jr., Research and Education Institute, Stanford University
"Told with passion and sharp political insight, Love and Solidarity brings to the fore the voices of people on the front lines of social change, most especially James Lawson, who is a decades-long practitioner of nonviolence. It is a must see for students, teachers, and activists to think about the legacy of civil rights activism and to understand the roots of contemporary political organizing."
Premilla Nadasen, Associate Professor of History, Barnard College, Author, Household Workers Unite: The Untold Story of African-American Women Who Built a Movement
"James Lawson, advisor to Martin Luther King and nonviolent theorist, powerfully tells the story of the civil rights movement through his words. Throughout, Rev. Lawson speaks eloquently to the power of the movement's ideals of nonviolence and economic justice and their continuing relevance for our times."
Kevin Gaines, Professor of Africana Studies and History, Cornell University
"This film introduces us to the most important movements of the past half century - civil rights, workers' rights, immigrant rights - the strategy of nonviolent civil disobedience. Lawson is one of those unsung heroes who has made history, often out of the spotlight, and was a key architect of social justice movements. Viewers will be inspired by Lawson's courage, hopefulness, and organizing genius. If you want to teach students how to bring about social change, Love and Solidarity is a place to start."
Peter Dreier, Professor of Politics, Chair of Urban and Environmental Policy Department, Occidental College, Author, The 100 Greatest Americans of the 20th Century: A Social Justice Hall of Fame
"Love and Solidarity insightfully captures the essence of James M. Lawson, Jr. and his lifelong commitment to nonviolence in the achievement of human rights. Lawson, whether in peace, black civil rights, justice for immigrants or labor empowerment, pursues the full flourishing of humanity."
Dennis C. Dickerson, Professor of History, Vanderbilt University
"A moving portrayal of a champion of non-violent resistance to oppression and injustice. Rev. Lawson, much like Dr. King, has proved himself to be as much a labor leader as a human rights advocate through his deeply felt and very practical solidarity with those who suffer the indignities of capitalism. Love and Solidarity is about commitment and dedication over the long haul, as it is also about the philosophy and practice of non-violence. I am sure that you will be as gripped as was I."
Bill Fletcher, Jr., talk-show host, labor activist, and writer
"This film captures Dr. Lawson as a leader who continued the struggle. It shows he is still a man of conviction, passion, and a teacher to lead the way in these trying times. The film did a great job in bridging the gap between the Civil Rights Movement and the labor movement. It can be used to support classes on Dr. King, the Civil Rights Movement, social justice, and African-American Studies."
Jamie Campbell, Assistant Dean for Diversity Enhancement Programs, Penn State University
"This film is a critical look at the dedication to non-violence as a conscious choice and organizing strategy...The film's positioning of activists from the Civil Rights Era alongside student activists from current movements speaks both to the lasting passion for justice that Lawson himself holds, as well as the maintained place of nonviolence in the continuum of the work."
Tyler Barbarin, Poverty and Race Research Action Council
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Include Scene Selection, and SDH Captions for the deaf and hard-of-hearing.
Host a community screening
The film's website
Awards and Festivals
Oneota Film Festival
Workers Unite! Film Festival
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"As the truly troubling spate of police shootings of black men demonstrates, there are still serious racial issues in the US...The US and the world could use more people like Reverend Lawson instead of the bellicose dividers and self-promoters who occupy all of the attention and energy of our sore and damaged society and planet. Level/use: Suitable for high school classes and college courses in cultural anthropology, anthropology of race and immigration, and anthropology of social movements and social justice, and American studies, as well as for general audiences."
Jack David Eller, Anthropology Review Database
"Both Lawson and Durazo promoted an expansive social justice agenda to invigorate the labor movement beyond its sometimes narrower goals. Lawson called for an enormous, unprecedented, twenty-first-century nonviolent movement, so that 'all may achieve the full status of their humanity'...Love and Solidarity also includes interviews with Dreamer student activists who were taught by Lawson at UCLA, making the film particularly relevant to the current Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals crisis and controversy over immigration."
Christina Greene and Bonnie Johnson, Films for the Feminist Classroom