RIP, Fred Shuttlesworth

Quotes, videos, and photos shared online give depth and meaning to the observance of a civil-rights activist's passing.

Mar 3, 2020, 11:16 am*


Fernando Alfonso III 

Fernando Alfonso III

The man whom Martin Luther King Jr. called “one of the nation’s most courageous freedom fighters” has died, leaving Twitter and Tumblr to remember his legacy.

Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth was a civil-rights giant who fought for racial equality in Birmingham, Ala., during the 1950s.

He was 89.

Shuttlesworth is a top trending topic on Twitter and has been mentioned about 3,000 times since 11 a.m. today, according to statistics from Topsy, a social media search engine.

“Rest in peace, Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth, whose enemies tried to kill him in 1963 in Birmingham. Instead, old age defeated him this morning,” tweeted Josh Rovner (@joshrovner).

#RIP to civil rights pioneer the Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth. Say what up to Martin, Malcolm and em for us,” tweeted Milton Jackson (@MajorKATF).

On Tumblr, a handful of users shared photos of Shuttlesworth marching with King and of the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office inmate log from 1961, which features the reverend’s name.

In a quote cited on Twitter by @Info_Gnosis, Shuttlesworth said, “I went to jail 30 or 40 times, not for fighting or stealing or drugs. I went to jail for a good thing, trying to make a difference.”

He made those remarks to grade-school students in 1997, according to the Associated Press.

A former truck driver who studied religion at night, Shuttlesworth left the road in 1953 to become the pastor of Bethel Baptist Church in Birmingham and a civil-rights activist, according to the AP newswire.

“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,” reported the AP.

@Negrointellect linked to a YouTube video of Shuttlesworth recounting the 1956 attack on his parsonage:

Photo by waynetaylor

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*First Published: Oct 5, 2011, 4:29 pm