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Students from AAS 458/CICS 401 "Nonviolence" conducted a live video interview, via Skype, with civil rights legend the Reverend Dr. Bernard Lafayette, Jr. last Thursday evening, November 3, 2011. With Rev. Lafayette speaking from Tuskegee University in Alabama, and the DAAS students hunkered down in an empty classroom in the Chemistry Building, the interview focused on Lafayette's early efforts as the SNCC field director in Selma, Alabama, beginning in 1962.
Perhaps more than any other single individual during the Civil Rights era, as a young activist Lafayette had been directly involved in many of the movement's most pivotal moments. Trained in the Reverend Jim Lawson's workshops on nonviolence, Lafayette became a key figure in the Nashville sit-in campaign. One of the founders of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee in Raleigh in 1960, he was a Freedom Rider in 1961. And three years before "Bloody Sunday" and the climactic showdown on the Edmund Pettus Bridge, Lafayette had launched what proved to be SNCC's crucial campaign in Selma.
Taking part in the interview with Rev. Lafayette were DAAS students Lisa Chen, Kasey Cox, Zoe Berkery, Becca Wadness, Elise Aikman, Lara Burt, and Sarah Raby, all of whom are enrolled in Dr. Scott Ellsworth's seminar. The Skype interview was Rev. Lafayette's first.