Civil Rights Leader
The Rev. Dr. Bernard LaFayette, Jr., an ordained minister, is a longtime civil rights activist, organizer, and an authority on nonviolent social change. He co-founded the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in 1960, and he was a core leader of the civil rights movement in Nashville, Tennessee, in 1960 and in Selma, Alabama, in 1965. He directed the Alabama Voter Registration Project in 1962, and he was appointed by Martin Luther King, Jr. to be national program administrator for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and national coordinator of the 1968 Poor People’s Campaign. Dr. LaFayette earned his B.A. from the American Baptist Theological Seminary in Nashville, Tennessee, and his Ed.M. and Ed.D from Harvard University. He has served on the faculties of Columbia Theological Seminary in Atlanta and Alabama State University in Montgomery, where he was Dean of the Graduate School; he also was principal of Tuskegee Institute High School in Tuskegee, Alabama and a teaching fellow at Harvard University. His publications include the Curriculum and Training Manual for the Martin Luther King, Jr., Nonviolent Community Leadership Training Program, his doctoral thesis, Pedagogy for Peace and Nonviolence, and Campus Ministries and Social Change in the ‘60’s (Duke Divinity Review) and The Leaders Manual: A Structured Guide and Introduction to Kingian Nonviolence with David Jehnsen. Bernard LaFayette has traveled extensively to many countries as a lecturer and consultant on peace and nonviolence. Dr. LaFayette has served as Distinguished Scholar in Residence and Director of the Center for Nonviolence and Peace Studies at the University of Rhode Island. He is chairperson for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference’s Board of Directors and currently serves as an advisor to James Wagner, President of Emory University where he founded the Emory Center for Advancing Nonviolence (ECAN). A native of Tampa, Florida, Dr. LaFayette is married to the former Kate Bulls.