Fred Shuttlesworth, civil-rights pioneer, dies at 89

When Martin Luther King Jr. said how much he admired this person for his bravery in the Deep South during the civil rights struggle, it’s obvious this was one of the influential figures of that time:

Fred Shuttlesworth (center) with Martin Luther King and Ralph Abernathy in Birmingham, Ala., May 1963

The Rev. Fred L. Shuttlesworth, who was bombed, beaten and repeatedly arrested in the fight for civil rights and hailed by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. for his courage and tenacity, has died. He was 89.

Relatives and hospital officials said Shuttlesworth died Wednesday at Princeton Baptist Medical Center in Birmingham. A former truck driver who studied religion at night, Shuttlesworth became pastor of Bethel Baptist Church in Birmingham in 1953 and soon emerged as an outspoken leader in the struggle for racial equality. …

… In his 1963 book “Why We Can’t Wait,” King called Shuttlesworth “one of the nation’s most courageous freedom fighters … a wiry, energetic and indomitable man.”

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