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Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth

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Information about Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth

Profile image of Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth

Profession

Category:
CivicMakers
ReligionMakers
Occupation(s):
Civil Rights Activist
Pastor
Foundation Executive

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Pink, Yellow
Favorite Food:
None
Favorite Time of Year:
None
Favorite Vacation Spot:
None
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
3/18/1922
Birth Location:
Montgomery, Alabama

Profession

Category:
CivicMakers
ReligionMakers
Occupation(s):
Civil Rights Activist
Pastor
Foundation Executive

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Pink, Yellow
Favorite Food:
None
Favorite Time of Year:
None
Favorite Vacation Spot:
None
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
3/18/1922
Birth Location:
Montgomery
See how Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

One of the most relentless figures of the Civil Rights Movement, the Reverend Fred Lee Shuttlesworth was born on March 18, 1922, in Montgomery County, Alabama. His biological father was Vetta Greene. However, Shuttlesworth was raised by his mother, Alberta Robinson Shuttlesworth and his stepfather, William Nathan Shuttlesworth, a farmer in rural Oxmoor, Alabama. Shuttlesworth attended Oxmoor Elementary School where he was mentored by teacher Israel Ramsey. He started as a student at Wenonah School, but graduated from Rosedale High School in 1940. Shuttlesworth married Ruby Keeler, a nurse, in 1941 and moved to Mobile in 1943 where he became a truck driver and studied auto mechanics. Rev. E.A. Palmer encouraged Shuttlesworth to attend Cedar Grove Academy, a local bible college. In 1945, he delivered a sermon at Selma University and decided to pursue his A.B. degree there and later at Alabama State College. By 1950, Shuttlesworth was the pastor of First Baptist Church in Selma, Alabama, and in 1953, he returned to Birmingham as pastor of Bethel Baptist Church.

In May of 1956, at a mass meeting at Bethel, Shuttlesworth established the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights (ACMHR). In December of that year, the United States Supreme Court ruled that bus segregation in Montgomery, Alabama, was illegal. Shuttlesworth immediately announced that the ACMHR was going to test segregation laws in Birmingham. On Christmas night the Shuttlesworth house was blown up by sixteen sticks of Ku Klux Klan dynamite. Shuttlesworth, who landed in the basement and whose bedroom was blown apart, and visiting Deacon Charles Robinson were unharmed. Shuttlesworth, then, led a rally the very next day. He was beaten by police in 1957 for trying to enroll his daughter in an all white school and that same year joined with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Ralph David Abernathy, and Bayard Rustin to form the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). He also assisted the Congress on Racial Equality (CORE) in organizing the Freedom Rides. Shuttlesworth was hospitalized in 1963 as a result of being attacked by Sheriff Bull Connor’s water cannons as he led a mass nonviolent demonstration. However, Shuttlesworth continued to work to secure Birmingham’s public accommodations and the desegregation of its schools.

In 1966, Shuttlesworth became the pastor of the Greater New Light Baptist Church in Cincinnati, Ohio, and served as founding director of the Shuttlesworth Housing Foundation. The recipient of numerous awards, Shuttlesworth was a remarkable figure and unsung hero of the Civil Rights Movement.

Shuttlesworth passed away on October 5, 2011.

Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on March 25, 2006.

See how Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth's interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth describes his mother's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth describes his biological father
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth describes his stepfather
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth describes Oxmoor, Alabama
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth talks about his father and stepfather
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth remembers Oxmoor Elementary School near Birmingham, Alabama
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth recalls St. Matthew A.M.E. Church Oxmoor
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth talks about early transit in Birmingham, Alabama
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth remembers his grandfather's mule, pt. 1
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth remembers his grandfather's mule, pt. 2
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth recalls his stepfather's bootlegging operations
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth recalls his stepfather's treatment of his children
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth describes his parents' relationship, pt. 1
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth describes his parents' relationship, pt. 2
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth remembers his stepfather's stature
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth recalls his teacher at Oxmoor Elementary School, pt. 1
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth recalls his teacher at Oxmoor Elementary School, pt. 2
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth describes Rosedale High School
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth remembers his stepfather's death
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth recalls his teachers at Rosedale High School
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth recalls the white residents of Oxmoor, Alabama
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth remembers his arrest for bootlegging
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth describes his work experiences after high school
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth recalls meeting his wife, Ruby Keeler Shuttlesworth
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth remembers the early years of his marriage
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth recalls moving to Mobile, Alabama
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth describes his home in Mobile, Alabama, pt. 1
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth describes his home in Mobile, Alabama, pt. 2
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth remembers his call to ministry in Mobile, Alabama
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth recalls joining the Baptist church
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth recalls speaking at Selma University in Selma, Alabama
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth describes his house in Mobile, Alabama
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth recalls attending Selma University
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth recalls preaching at First Baptist Church of Selma, pt. 1
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth recalls preaching at First Baptist Church of Selma, pt. 2
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth remembers pastoring First Baptist Church of Selma
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth recalls his invitation to pastor Bethel Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth describes his sermons
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth describes his civil rights activity in Alabama
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth recalls his first sermon at Bethel Baptist Church
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth describes his activism as a preacher
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth remembers Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth describes his entry to the Civil Rights Movement
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth recalls the prohibition of the NAACP in Alabama
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth recalls organizing the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth remembers the bombing of his home, pt. 1
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth remembers the bombing of his home, pt. 2