FRED SHUTTLESWORTH Biography - Activists, Revolutionaries and other freedom fighters


Biography » activists revolutionaries and other freedom fighters » fred shuttlesworth


1963. A long-standing leader of the movement to end segregation in         
Birmingham, Alabama, Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth was recognized as a       
fearless advocate of racial justice. He was physically assaulted, knocked   
unconscious with high-pressure fire hoses, and his home was dynamited       
while he slept.                                                             
We were a long ways from getting enough people to fill the jails. That's   
when we made the decision to let the school children come in. They kept     
marching in disciplined arrays, sitting in, demonstrating. I knew we were   
wining when I went to court and the judge couldn't sentence me. He said,   
"Mr. Shuttlesworth, I regret that because of the overcrowded condition at   
jail, we have no place to put you." I said, "Your honor, we're making       
progress." The city had me on so many charges:  trespass, trespass after   
warning, conspiracy to violate a city ordinance, violation of a city       
ordinance, and so on. And then they' get me for breach of the peace. I was 
never a part of the sit-ins, but I got four convictions out of that.       
Several times they put a vagrancy warrant against me to keep me in jail.   
But I was a full-time pastor, so after two or three days, they'd charge me 
with something else. Many times when I was in a lower court on one charge, 
the appellate court would affirm some decision that same day. I was in     
jail so many times, I quit counting after twenty. But I knew what they     
were doing, and it wasn't going to stop me.