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).
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