Bernard LaFayette, Jr., a distinguished senior scholar-in-residence, at Emory University’s Candler School of Theology: LaFayette has been a Civil Rights movement hero and nonviolence activist for more than 50 years. A proponent of nonviolent resistance, he was a co-founder and leader of the 1960 Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee Nashville Sit-ins, and courageously participated in 1961’s Freedom Rides to help enforce federal integration laws on interstate busses. He then worked with the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to organize the Selma to Montgomery marches that were critical to the eventual passing of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Through all of these actions and much more, LaFayette played a critical role in the movement toward non-violent racial equality in the United States.
An ordained minister and professor LaFayette co-founded and led The University of Rhode Island’s Center for Nonviolence and Peace Studies from 1999 through 2009. He also developed Kingian Nonviolence education and training programs and provided them in Rhode Island and around the world.
LaFayette earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from the American Baptist Theological Seminary in Nashville, Tenn. and his master’s and doctorate of education degrees from Harvard University. A resident of Tuskegee, AL., LaFayette will receive an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters.