Fred Shuttlesworth was one of the pioneering figures of the civil rights era and the central leader of the movement in Birmingham. As pastor of Bethel Baptist Church and founder of the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights, Shuttlesworth spearheaded civil rights actions in Birmingham throughout the 1950s and 60s. In 1957, Shuttlesworth helped found the Southern Christian Leadership Council with Martin Luther King Jr. and Ralph Abernathy. In 1963, he convinced King to join his efforts to desegregate businesses in Birmingham, helping to spearhead the series of protests that became known as the Birmingham Campaign. Press coverage and public outcry over the brutal treatment of the protesters pressured Pres. John F. Kennedy to introduce into Congress legislation that would eventually become the 1964 Civil Rights Act. In 2008, the Birmingham Airport was renamed the Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport in his honor.

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Encyclopedia of Alabama