Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Context is everything: Fred Shuttlesworth

Dr. King's letter to the Clergymen was incredible. It really shows King's true character. He responses to the criticism by writing this letter in the jail. He explains why he took action and why the timing was right for him to do so. He says that African American have been suffering for way too long and now it was time for change. My favorite quote was, "We have waited for more than 340 years for our constitutional and Godgiven rights". The clergymen agreed with King on the matter that segregation should end but they disagreed with his methods. They said that "hatred and violence have no sanction in our religious and political traditions."

Fred Shuttlesworth was the co-founder of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. He was a civil rights activist who fought against racism and segregation in Birmingham. He participated in the sit-in during 1960. He helped CORE organize freedom rides. During one freedom ride, the riders were beaten up and he called 15 cars over to help them out. One of the riders named James Farmer and Shuttlesworth were surrounded by a mob of about 1000 whites. Shuttlesworth carried Farmer out of there without any fear. Farmer said that, "He was either insane or the most courageous man I have ever met. Shuttlesworth just walked through them, as cool as a cucumber. I think they were intimidated by his boldness." He was hospitalized in 1963 for being hit against the wall by the water of a fire hose.


  1. I can't imagine how much force a fire hose has that had to hurt,i bet Shuttlesworth's boldness added a lot to the movement.

  2. That was very courageous of him to carry Farmer out. I mean, put yourself into that situation- your flight instinct is telling you to run more than ever being surrounded by that many enemies, and you're still able to save a friend. Amazing.