fred shuttlesworth, 1922 – 2011

Democratic Presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama pushes civil rights activist Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth during a march to the Edmund Pettus Bridge to commemorate the 1965 ‘Bloody Sunday’ Voting Rights, March 4, 2007 in Selma, Alabama

MSNBC: The Rev. Fred L. Shuttlesworth, who was bombed, beaten and repeatedly arrested in the fight for civil rights and hailed by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. for his courage and energy, has died. He was 89.

Princeton Baptist Medical Center spokeswoman Jennifer Dodd confirmed he died at the Birmingham hospital Wednesday morning.

Shuttlesworth, a former truck driver who studied religion at night, became pastor of Bethel Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala., in 1953 and soon was an outspoken leader in the fight for racial equality.

In his 1963 book “Why We Can’t Wait,” King called Shuttlesworth “one of the nation’s the most courageous freedom fighters … a wiry, energetic and indomitable man.”

He survived a 1956 bombing, an assault during a 1957 demonstration, chest injuries when Birmingham authorities turned fire hoses on demonstrators in 1963, and countless arrests.

“I went to jail 30 or 40 times, not for fighting or stealing or drugs,” Shuttlesworth told grade school students in 1997. “I went to jail for a good thing, trying to make a difference.”

2008: Fred Shuttlesworth watches the results of the historic presidential election from his hospital bed at St. Vincents Hospital in Birmingham. Shuttlesworth watched the returns with his wife Sephira and close friend Cathy Crenshaw.

Read more on Fred’s life here


President Barack Obama today issued a statement about the passing of the Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth.

“Michelle and I were saddened to hear about the passing of Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth today. As one of the founders of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Reverend Shuttlesworth dedicated his life to advancing the cause of justice for all Americans.  He was a testament to the strength of the human spirit. And today we stand on his shoulders, and the shoulders of all those who marched and sat and lifted their voices to help perfect our union.

I will never forget having the opportunity several years ago to push Reverend Shuttlesworth in his wheelchair across the Edmund Pettus Bridge – a symbol of the sacrifices that he and so many others made in the name of equality. America owes Reverend Shuttlesworth a debt of gratitude, and our thoughts and prayers are with his wife, Sephira, and their family, friends and loved ones.”

28 Responses to “fred shuttlesworth, 1922 – 2011”

  1. 1 Doris
    October 5, 2011 at 1:21 pm

    RIP dear warrior.

  2. October 5, 2011 at 1:22 pm

    What a wonderful man —

    RIP Fred Shuttlesworth

  3. October 5, 2011 at 1:26 pm

    Oh my gosh, these photos are so moving.

    RIP, Mr. Shuttlesworth.

  4. October 5, 2011 at 1:26 pm

    We so rarely witness that kind of bravery outside of the military. I’m so glad he lived long enough to see Senator Obama become President Obama. RIP

  5. 5 CTGirl
    October 5, 2011 at 1:26 pm

    RIP! There is no way to repay you brave man…go with God.

  6. 6 utaustinliberal
    October 5, 2011 at 1:27 pm

    Rest in eternal peace Sir. Heaven will be waiting for you with open arms.

  7. 7 Fred
    October 5, 2011 at 1:30 pm

    that 1st picture . . .

    THANK YOU.THANK YOU;THANK YOU for all that you did and may God welcome you in heaven Mr Shuttlesworth.

  8. 8 meabloom
    October 5, 2011 at 1:32 pm

    RIP Fred Shuttlesworth

  9. 9 PoliticalJunkessa
    October 5, 2011 at 1:32 pm

    RIP. Beautiful soul. How often we forget that what we have was fought for. Those pictures and the accompanying text are extremely poignant. Bless him.

  10. 10 JoJothecat
    October 5, 2011 at 1:36 pm

    God Bless a very worthy man who perservered for peace and justice in America. It is folks like this man that made President Obama possible if they had not marched, went to jail, and demanded the right to vote for all of us. When I go into the voting booth, I know I am doing it for all those that died for me to have the right to vote as an american citizen. RIP

  11. October 5, 2011 at 1:47 pm

    May Fred serve as an inspiration to us all. He made a difference in his community. I am so glad he lived to see PBO elected.

  12. 13 Alycee
    October 5, 2011 at 1:51 pm

    So sorry to hear this. I had the honor and pleasure of meeting Rev Shuttlesworth during the summmer of 2001 when I chaperoned a Freedom Ride from Philly.

  13. 14 isonprize
    October 5, 2011 at 2:01 pm

    Mr. Shuttleworth. Well done, well done, and well done! Now, he was a warrior, for real!!

  14. October 5, 2011 at 2:33 pm

    thank you Rev. Shuttlesworth for all you did

  15. 17 Dakota
    October 5, 2011 at 2:35 pm

    Rest in Blessed Peace Warrior Shuttleworth. Thank you for giving us your shoulders to stand on. We.Will.Not.Forget!!!

  16. 18 Me4obama
    October 5, 2011 at 2:40 pm

    RIP Sir.

  17. 19 Sue in Minnesota
    October 5, 2011 at 3:02 pm

    Rest in Eternal Peace Warrior Shuttleworth. I pray to God that we can ways within ourselves to walk the distance we still need to go.

  18. October 5, 2011 at 3:12 pm

    Rest in Peace Mr. Shuttleworth. You fought the brave fight.

  19. 21 sjterrid
    October 5, 2011 at 3:47 pm

    Rest in Peace Rev. Shuttleworth. Thank you for your life long courageous fight for equal rights.

  20. 22 hopefruit2
    October 5, 2011 at 4:08 pm

    RIP Brave man.

  21. October 5, 2011 at 4:53 pm

    Sad news. Rest in peace you beautiful man. Such a strong, courageous warrior, the world is a better place for his part in it. God bless.

  22. 25 HZ
    October 5, 2011 at 6:35 pm

    Rest In Peace Great Spirit who paved the way for me and so many others. Your better angel will live on within our spaces as a spirit of goodness for all mankind.HZ

  23. 26 Claire
    October 5, 2011 at 6:37 pm

    May God rest his glorious soul and send peace to his family in their time of grief. Thank the heavens for pioneers like Rev. Shuttlesworth.

  24. 27 anniebella
    October 5, 2011 at 11:00 pm

    Another warrior gone home. Bless his family,

  25. 28 Mae who love our CIC
    October 6, 2011 at 9:41 am

    May Mr. Shuttlesworth enter in through the small gate. I am so glad that he stepped up and stepped out for the good for all of us. RIP.

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