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Interview with Fred Shuttlesworth, 1984 August 9

@ William Stanley Hoole Special Collections Library


In this interview, Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth discusses his early life and his eventual role in the Civil Rights Movement. Throughout the interview, Shuttlesworth speaks about the role of his religious faith played in his life and his involvement in the Civil Rights Movement. In 1956 Alabama outlawed the NAACP. Shuttlesworth recounts holding a meeting when a deputy approached with a pistol and demanded that that no other NAACP meetings be held. Knowing that he would probably be arrested, Shuttlesworth called a mass meeting at Sardis Baptist Church in Birmingham. There were 600-700 attendees. During this meeting, the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights was formed. This organization was formed to get around the law that prohibited NAACP meetings. Regular meetings continued to be held, with detectives sitting in. He also details his involvement with Bull Connor. Shuttlesworth consistently maintained that African-Americans be allowed to serve on the police force; this request eventually resulted in a confrontation with Connor at the Birmingham City Hall. In this interview, Shuttlesworth also describes the Klan's attempt on his life which he says did not slow down his efforts; his religious faith gave him strength to continue. Shortly after this event, he organized a bus ride in Birmingham, where blacks sat with whites. Shuttlesworth recounts being beaten for trying to enroll his children in Phillips High School. He also describes the constant harassment from the local police department. He recalls sitting in the white section of an Atlanta train station and the mob scene that...
Sillman, Marcie
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William Stanley Hoole Special Collections Library

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Digital Library of Georgia