Civil Rights Leader Fred Shuttlesworth Dies

Helped organize the Alabama protests that led to the Voting Rights and Civil Rights acts

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The Rev. Fred L. Shuttlesworth died Wednesday at the age of 89, The New York Times' Jon Nordheimer reports. Shuttlesworth had survived brutal beatings and bombings as he worked for civil rights in Alabama; he went to jail 30 or 40 times by his own estimation. Television images of police using fire hoses and dogs to break up Birmingham protests organized by Shuttlesworth in 1963 shocked the rest of the country and led to the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The reverend also helped organize the 1965 march from Selma to Montgomery for black voting rights; that protest led to the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The Associated Press notes that in the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s 1963 book, Why We Can't Wait, he called Shuttlesworth, "one of the nation's the most courageous freedom fighters ... a wiry, energetic and indomitable man." Shuttlesworth commemorated the 42nd anniversary of the march on Selma in 2007 (pictured above) with then-Sen. Barack Obama.

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