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Fred Shuttlesworth: Fearless, Courageous, Impactful!



Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport named after civil rights leader; Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth is a testament to his profound impact on human rights in the United States.

Shuttlesworth, born, raised, and educated in Alabama graduated from his high school as Valedictorian before earning a B.A. at Selma University and a B.S. from Alabama State University.

Determined to end segregation in his lifetime, Shuttlesworth played a key role in many organizations instrumental to the success of the Civil Rights Movement. Along with Martin Luther King Jr., and James Bevel he is credited with the leadership of the word famous Birmingham Campaign that eventually led to the change of Birmingham’s discrimination laws and the passage of the two greatest legislative accomplishments of the Civil Rights Movement, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Shuttlesworth was Membership Chair of the Alabama state chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) when Attorney General, John Patterson successfully had their activities banned in the state, leading Shuttlesworth along with a group of pastors and community members to draft a 7-point Declaration of Principles in which they stated their ”determination to press forward persistently for Freedom and Democracy, and the removal from our society any forms of Second Class Citizenship.” Along with their unwavering commitment to non-violence, “We will not become Rabblerousers; but will be sober, firm, peaceful, and resolute, within the Framework of Goodwill… and without rancor, hate, and smear, and above all without violence.” (Wikipedia)

The group eventually formed the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights (ACMHR), which Shuttleworth was its founding President and served in that role from 1956-1969. The ACMHR coordinated boycotts, sponsored federal lawsuits an worked closely with the Birmingham Campaign which it coordinated along with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, which Shuttlesworth cofounded.

Though he was aware of the great risk he took on being a leader of the Civil Rights Movement he vowed to “kill segregation or be killed by it.” (A Fire You Can’t Put Out: The Civil Rights Life of Birmingham’s Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth, Mannis, Andrew M 1999) He survived multiple assassination attempts, including a mob stabbing his wife Ruby in the hip and beating Shuttlesworth with chains, brass knuckles, and bats after they attempted to enroll their children in a previously all white school in Brimingham. On three occasions a bomb attempt was made on a church he pastored. And in 1956, 16 sticks of dynamite was placed outside his bedroom window, though he miraculously survived, much of his home was destroyed. Advised by a police officer who was also a Klux Klan member to leave town, he refused saying “I wasn’t raised to run.” His courage in the face of death made him a living legend to his compatriots.

He remained an activist and pastor his entire career advocating for civil and human rights and the protection of the homeless. In 2001, he was awarded the Presidential Citizens Medal by President Bill Clinton. After delivering his last sermon in March of 2006, at the age of 84, he retired, moved from Ohio back to his hometown of Birmingham, AL where he died at the age of 89.

In 2008, the Birmingham Alabama Airport Authority officially changed its name to Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport.

Jacobsen|Daniels (J|D) is a professional consulting services firm specializing in services for the aviation industry. Formed in 2001, our team provides solutions that are technically sound and thoughtfully designed to improve the travel experience at airports. From roadways to airways, we pursue ideas, concepts, and answers to improve the journey for the traveling public. From its founding, J|D has been dedicated to reliable, convenient, and safe transit options that meet the rapidly changing safety and security needs of the transportation industry. Offering an array of diversified technical services, we provide strategic advice to improve performance and improve the traveler’s journey, making your vision an attainable reality. We also provide valet services at multiple airports through Fly Away Valet, our signature valet company, owned and operated by J|D. Learn more about us at www.jacobsendaniels.com and by following us on LinkedIn and Twitter @JourneywithJ|D.

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