UW News

October 22, 2015

UW Tacoma historian Michael Honey’s film about Rev. James Lawson to screen locally

UW News

"Love and Solidarity: Rev. James Lawson and Nonviolence in the Search for Workers' Rights," a film by Michael Honey and Errol Webber, will screen in Seattle and Tacoma.

“Love and Solidarity: Rev. James Lawson and Nonviolence in the Search for Workers’ Rights,” a film by Michael Honey and Errol Webber, will be shown in Seattle and Tacoma.

UW historian Michael Honey has teamed with cinematographer and filmmaker Errol Webber to produce a documentary about the life of Methodist minister and civil rights activist Rev. James Lawson.

Love and Solidarity: Rev. James Lawson and Nonviolence in the Search for Workers’ Rights” will be shown at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 28, at the Ethnic Cultural Theater, 3940 Brooklyn Ave. NE. The screening is free and the public is welcome.

A panel discussion will follow the film with Honey and Megan Ming Francis, UW assistant professor of political science, as well as Black Lives Matter activist Michael Moynihan and immigrant rights activist Diana Betancourt.

Honey, a professor of interdisciplinary arts and sciences at UW Tacoma and affiliate of the UW’s Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies, said the film is a product of his long work on the interconnection between labor and civil rights history.

The film premiered in Tacoma in February, and it will be shown again at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 29 at UW Tacoma’s Carwein Auditorium.

Lawson, 87, is a lifelong activist in the civil rights and workers movements. He knew and worked with Dr. Martin Luther King, studied the nonviolence resistance of Mahatma Gandhi and advised and was allied with — even jailed with — the Freedom Riders. From 1974 until his retirement in 1999 Lawson led Holman United Methodist Church in Los Angeles.

Rev. James Lawson

Rev. James Lawson

“He just turned 86 when I interviewed (Lawson) for the film,” Honey said. “His life takes us back to his imprisonment as a conscientious objector during the Korean War, as a student of Gandhi in India, as the teacher of nonviolent direct action in the Nashville sit-in movement and the Freedom Rides in 1960, mass movements throughout the South, and then the Memphis sanitation strike. He brought King into that struggle and they ultimately won, despite King’s assassination.”

Honey co-produced the film with Webber, a cinematographer who won an Academy Award for his cinematography on the short 2010 film “Music by Prudence.” Honey said Adam Nolan, a graduate in history from UW Tacoma, did research for the documentary as well.

Honey said the 38-minute film weaves together three basic “strands”: civil rights, immigrants and labor organizing.

“The film helps us get a grasp on how racism and structures of power are interconnected,” Honey said. “It especially speaks to organizing poor workers in the civil rights movement tradition of direct action to challenge economic and racial inequality and oppression.”

In comments cited on the film’s website, Premilla Nadasen, associate professor of history at Columbia University, called it “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.”

Honey said he believes Lawson’s philosophy of love and solidarity “applies to all people organizing for nonviolent social change.”


For more information, contact Honey at mhoney@uw.edu or 253-692-4454.

Watch a preview of “Love and Solidarity”: