Shuttlesworth had pledged “to kill segregation or be killed by it.” When he was 85 he had given a statement saying that he had expected to die at 40 for his efforts of working against segregation.
Shuttlesworth became pastor of Bethel Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala., in 1953 before which he was a modest truck driver who had an avid interest in religion. “My church was a beehive,” Shuttlesworth once said. “I made the movement. I made the challenge. Birmingham was the citadel of segregation, and the people wanted to march.”
President Bill Clinton awarded Shuttlesworth the Presidential Citizens Medal in 2001 — the nation’s second-highest civilian award — for his kind contribution in “non-violent civil rights movement of the 1950s and 60s, leading efforts to integrate Birmingham, Alabama’s schools, buses and recreational facilities” and assisting in forming the SCLC.
“I went to jail 30 or 40 times, not for fighting or stealing or drugs,” Shuttlesworth told grade school students in 1997. “I went to jail for a good thing, trying to make a difference.”
And he certainly did. Oye! Times would like to send their heartfelt grievances and hopes the family can recover from this huge loss.
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