On this day in Alabama history: Civil rights leader Fred Shuttlesworth was born

On this day in Alabama history: Civil rights leader Fred Shuttlesworth was born
The Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth, c. 1970-1980. (Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division)

March 18, 1922

The Rev. Frederick Lee “Fred” Shuttlesworth was a U.S. civil rights activist and minister born on this day in Mount Meigs. Shuttlesworth pastored Bethel Baptist Church in Birmingham from 1953 to 1961. The church served as headquarters and a frequent meeting place for the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights (ACMHR), which Shuttlesworth founded in 1956. He was also a co-founder of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and initiated and was instrumental in the 1963 Birmingham Campaign during the civil rights movement. Shuttlesworth also fought homelessness in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he took up a pastorate in 1961. He returned to Birmingham after his retirement in 2007. Shuttlesworth received the presidential Citizens Medal from President Bill Clinton in 2001. The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute in 2002 established the annual Fred L. Shuttleworth Human Rights Award as a tribute to his leadership and courage. Shuttlesworth died Oct. 5, 2011 at the age of 89. In 2008, the Birmingham Airport Authority approved changing the name of Birmingham’s airport in honor of Shuttlesworth.

Read more at Encyclopedia of Alabama or Biography.

For more on Alabama’s Bicentennial, visit Alabama 200.

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