Fred Shuttlesworth, Oral History


Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth.jpg
Shuttlesworth 1966 - 2 min  snippet.mp3
Fred Shuttlesworth L White  R Upshaw.pdf


Fred Shuttlesworth, Oral History


Fred Lee Shuttlesworth (b. March 18, 1922; d. October 5, 2011) - founder, Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights (ACMHR) in 1956. Major organizer and activist of the Birmingham Civil Rights Movement with Dr. Martin Luther King. Pastor, Bethel Baptist Church, Collegeville, Birmingham. Rev. Shuttlesworth was interviewed by two WJLD announcers in 1966: Lewis White and Rick Upshaw. The occasion was the 10th Anniversary of the founding of the ACMHR. As WJLD's studio location was in transition - from their Red Mountain location in Homewood to 19th Street and First Avenue, Birmingham, we are not certain of the location of the interview. The audio was on a 7" reel and found in a closet at the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute with the letters, WJLD, on the box.


Fred Shuttlesworth
Rick Upshaw
Lewis White


Birmingham Black Radio Museum


June 1966


Jeff Hayes
Bob Friedman
Emily Bibb








Rick Upshaw
Lewis White


Fred Shuttlesworth


WJLD Studios


Tanscript of audio snippet:

Fred Shuttlesworth: As you know there was a lot of political furor going on in the state, and we did not have time to adequately plan for a program, and so we just announced that I felt that I should be allowed to retire from the presidency and turn it over to other hands. I never wanted to play God and I don’t think that I’m invincible. However, since that time there’s been such a terrific response on the part of the local people – in particular, the masses and many of the people who are not…who are a little bit above the masses, we’ll say the classes. They’ve been all of one voice in asking me to stay. Now, my immediate concern is not whether I stay or go; of course, it’s nice to be loved, but it’s better to be needed. It’s better to have something to do; it’s better to have something to commit yourself to. And that’s my job.


Full interview: 31 minutes
Audio snippet: 2 minutes


Fred Shuttlesworth, Rick Upshaw, and Lewis White, “Fred Shuttlesworth, Oral History,” The Birmingham Black Radio Museum, accessed July 3, 2022,

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