Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth

Table of Content

Despite facing physical violence, death threats, and numerous challenges, Fred Shuttlesworth remained composed during the atrocities against him and his family at a Super Bowl match. Born on March 18, 1922 in Mount Meigs, Alabama, he played a vital role in advocating for equality in America and will forever be recognized as a prominent figure in nonviolent protests.

Reverend Shuttlesworth, a hero, peacefully ended segregation in one of the most racist cities in the United States. The Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights (ACMHR), an organization formed by 1,000 African American men at Alford’s Sordis Baptist Church in 1956, played a crucial role in this triumph. Prior to the establishment of ACMHR, Fred Shuttlesworth and some other pastors joined forces to create a group composed of “free and independent citizens of the U. S. A. and of the state of Alabama” known as the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights.

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Fred Shuttlesworth’s group, the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights (ACMHR), gathered and formulated a “Declaration of Principles”. A principle within the Declaration emphasized their belief in State’s rights, but also asserted that Human Rights should take precedence as the primary rights. They proclaimed that a state’s foremost responsibility is to safeguard Human Rights and ensure every citizen receives equal Rights and Privileges. The ACMHR’s objective was to peacefully protest and eradicate segregation in Birmingham.

Following an unsuccessful protest with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Fred persisted in his nonviolent campaign by joining ACMHR. He called on the city of Birmingham to put an end to the segregation of public buses. On November 13, 1956, Birmingham made bus segregation illegal and ACMHR promptly ensured compliance with this new law. Having achieved equality on buses, Shuttlesworth and ACMHR turned their attention towards further advancements. Shuttlesworth reached out to Martin Luther King Jr. and mobilized other church leaders to participate in a march in Birmingham in 1957.

Both MLK Jr. and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) advocated for nonviolent protest as a means to achieve equality between black and white individuals. The SCLC’s objective was to assist organizations in their fight for equal rights, following the principle “Not one hair of one head of one person should be harmed.” MLK Jr., together with Shuttlesworth and other activists, devised peaceful protest tactics to promote civil rights for black people, encompassing voting and labor rights.

The Birmingham campaign was a crucial moment for both the ACMHR and the SCLC, as it brought national attention to their cause. Birmingham was widely known for its deep racial division. Reverend Shuttlesworth led the ACMHR and collaborated with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the SCLC. Their aim was to increase participation in the campaign. Although the SCLC had previously undertaken a separate campaign, they were unsuccessful in their objective to eradicate segregation nationwide.

Given the circumstances, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) set a fresh objective in Birmingham: putting an end to segregation in the downtown business district. To raise awareness and fight for African-American rights, Shuttlesworth initiated Project C, comprising nonviolent demonstrations such as marches. Despite the sacrifices made by the black community, they eventually achieved a favorable outcome. It is important to mention that Martin Luther King Jr. is widely recognized as the key figure in the civil rights movement.

Even though Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth may not have received the same level of recognition as MLK Jr., his commitment to promoting integration was just as strong. It is uncommon for someone to advocate for the rights of individuals from all races, making Shuttlesworth a role model for everyone. He fearlessly protested, even when it meant rushing his family to the hospital. No matter what the circumstances were, he never resorted to violence.

In fact, MLK Jr. once declared that Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth was the bravest fighter for civil rights in the Southern region. Fred Shuttlesworth was a courageous leader in the civil rights movement who advocated for nonviolence and should be remembered by all.

Works Cited

  1. “Birmingham Campaign”. Wikipedia. 13 Apr. 2013. Wikimedia Foundation, inc. 15 Apr. 2013

  2. “Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights”. Wikipedia. 4 Feb. 2013. Wikimedia Foundation, inc. 15 Apr. 2013