Shuttlesworth Day to honor Birmingham civil rights leader

March 13, 2022 GMT

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — Birmingham plans to honor its most prominent civil rights leader, the late Rev. Fred L. Shuttlesworth, this coming week on the 100th anniversary of his birthday.

Mayor Randall Woodfin will proclaim Friday as Fred Shuttlesworth Day to coincide with his March 18 birthday. The proclamation will be released during an event at the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, and the museum will offer free tours as part of the celebration.

Shuttlesworth, who died in 2011 at age 89, became pastor of Bethel Baptist Church in Birmingham in 1953 and soon emerged as a key leader in the struggle for racial equality in what was sometimes called the most segregated city in America. Shuttleworth’s home was bombed, and he was beaten and repeatedly arrested in the fight for civil rights.

The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., an important ally whose civil rights leadership began in Montgomery while Shuttlesworth worked in Birmingham, praised Shuttlesworth for his courage and tenacity.

A statue of Shuttlesworth already stands outside the institute, and the city’s airport is named in his honor.