Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department

Adult, Career and Higher Education

Major Professor

Waynne B. James, Ed.D.

Committee Member

Edward C. Fletcher, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Tonisha B. Lane, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Janet C. Richards, Ph.D.


adult education, civil rights, nonviolence


The purpose of this study was to explore the life and work of LaFayette, nonviolence and conflict reconciliation from an adult education perspective. This study explores LaFayette’s life from an early age through his involvement in the Civil Rights Movement, his contributions to adult education, and his current views on social change. The nonviolence conflict reconciliation LaFayette teaches is based on the philosophy and strategies of Martin Luther King, Jr. During the last 50 years, LaFayette has been kidnapped, threatened, and survived ventures into hostile environments in his effort to teach nonviolence philosophy, strategies, and methods.

This historical/biographical study used semi-structured interviews to obtain information from LaFayette directly and from a plethora of media, books, and articles about him. Semi-structured interviews were also used to interview his family members and colleagues.

Despite the numerous awards and recognitions LaFayette has received, he had not been recognized in the field of adult education. Without realizing it, he incorporated some of the theories of adult education such as adult education agencies and categories during his workshop and encouraging institute participants to understand the first principle of the nonviolence training, which is nonviolence is a way of life for courageous people.

This study began with a review of LaFayette’s family ties followed by his spiritual upbringing. It briefly outlined LaFayette’s contributions to the Civil Rights Movement. LaFayette co-authored material and curriculum for the nonviolence training by codifying and creating a quality standard which has been used in important organizations he co-founded such as the Alternative to Violence Project and The Summer Institute at the University of Rhode Island Center for Nonviolence and Peace Studies. In addition to these two major institutions, the study included his contributions to adult education in six other institutions.

This study provides the most comprehensive, current, and overall picture of LaFayette’s life and contributions. Education institutions, prisons, and community agencies could benefit from the information provided in this study including information about the nonviolence conflict reconciliation training.