Black History Month officially ended yesterday, but the message it carries is as important today as it was on February 29 (or the 28th, if it hadn’t been for the leap year).
Black History is American History, so it has no one-month limit. And the struggle for equality, unfortunately, is far from over.
I try to get to Selma every first weekend in March for Bloody Sunday commemorations. If you don’t know what Bloody Sunday is, don’t feel bad. Until 6 years ago, I didn’t know either. The annual celebration includes the re-enactment of Selma’s civil rights leaders’ initial trek across the Edmund Pettus Bridge toward Montgomery on March, 7, 1965. Continue reading →
I am not a historian by inclination. Being young means you focus more on the future and where you want to be when it gets here. But because of several projects that required research into Birmingham’s past has shown me the value of understanding the here and now. Continue reading →
Two sets of events events will take place this weekend, things that on the surface have nothing in common. But in my little mind, I see a strong connection.
The first include the weekend of celebratory events planned to commemorate the life and legacy of Rev. Fred L. Shuttlesworth, who died on October 5. The second is the Birmingham Comprehensive Planning meeting on Saturday. Continue reading →
Birmingham, AL (October 20) — Three days of events will give the public the opportunity to pay tribute to the late Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth, the civil rights leader historians credited with leading the movement in this city that helped changed the nation.
Rev. Shuttlesworth passed away after a long illness in Birmingham on October 5. Many of his civil rights colleagues, ministers and elected officials are expected to come to Birmingham to participate in events. Continue reading →
I first met the Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth at Sixteenth Street Baptist Church during the 30-year anniversary of the church bombing, when NBC’s Brian Williams (before he was an anchor) and his television crews broadcast a live, national town-hall meeting from its sanctuary.
I was one of The Birmingham News reporters covering the event, and I was directed to interview him. At that time I only knew Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in terms of the Civil Rights Movement. So Rev. Shuttlesworth’s story fascinated me.
He recounted surviving the first bomb attack on his home. A blast that should have killed him instead inspired him because he knew that God spared him to lead the Movement in Birmingham. Emerging from the ruins of his wrecked home virtually unscathed, he was from then on the fiercest foe of segregation, he said, because he was never again afraid. Continue reading →
The May 14, 1961, picture of Klansmen savagely beating non-violent Freedom Riders upon their arrival at the Birmingham Trailways bus station helped change the city’s course toward a destiny it has yet to achieve. Continue reading →
Tommy Wrenn, a long-time civil rights activist and Birmingham foot soldier, died last week. He did more to help me understand the true meaning and spiritual concepts of the Movement more than any book I’ve ever read. It is a shame when living icons leave. But fortunately, he left behind a grio’s legacy of stories and remembrances to touch the next generation of city leaders. Continue reading →
The line at the Jefferson County Courthouse this morning were deceptively short when I arrived at 7 a.m. When I went, I saw another, massive line that stretched as far as the eye could see down the long corridor, easily more than 150 people. Many were neighbors and friends.
As fate would have it, I ended up standing in line next to Sephira Shuttlesworth, wife of Birmingham’s fiery Civil Rights icon, Fred Shuttlesworth. He’s in the hospital now, she said, but his mind is clearly on the historic presidential. Continue reading →