When legendary civil rights activist Fred Shuttlesworth died at the age of 89 yesterday, many African Americans both young and old had no idea who he was.
The reaction from many young African Americans was: “Who was he?” The question begs our need for more self-education and African American stories needing to be told in our classrooms.
Good recently came up with a list of 5 things you need to know about Fred Shuttlesworth. Check them out below:
1. From the start of his career, Shuttlesworth, who was raised poor in Alabama, was fiery and obstinate. After Alabama officially banned the NAACP from operating within the state in 1956, Shuttlesworth, then a pastor, founded the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights. The ACMHR’s first major order of business was a Birmingham bus sit-in, during which Shuttlesworth and others boarded city buses and sat in the “whites only” sections. The ACMHR would eventually become charter member organization in the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.
2. He lived nearly nine decades, but many people tried to kill Shuttlesworth much earlier for his outspokenness. He was the target of two bomb attacks, one on his home and one on his church. And when Shuttlesworth tried to enroll his daughters in an all-white Birmingham school in 1957, an armed mob attacked him, beating him unconscious and stabbing his wife. The couple survived, and when a doctor remarked that Shuttlesworth was lucky to have avoided a concussion, Shuttlesworth said, “Doctor, the Lord knew I lived in a hard town, so he gave me a hard head.”