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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Birmingham in Jefferson County, Alabama — The American South (East South Central)
 

Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth Bethel Baptist Church

 
 
Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth Bethel Baptist Church Marker image. Click for full size.
By Anita Curry Nyambo, December 10, 2011
1. Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth Bethel Baptist Church Marker
Inscription. Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth's tenure as pastor of Bethel Baptist Church (1953-1961) was marked by demonstrations, bombings and passionate sermons critical of segregation laws. His activism earned him a house bombing, frequent beatings, arrests, and threats to his family. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. called Shuttlesworth “one of the nation's most courageous freedom fighters.” Shuttlesworth organized lunch counter sit-ins and encouraged Blacks to apply for civil service jobs. The church built in 1926 was bombed three times: Dec. 25, 1956; June 29, 1958; and Dec. 14, 1962. When a dynamite blast blew the roof off his parsonage, he emerged and told a policeman, “Tell your Klan brothers that if God could save me through this, they'll have to come up with something better, so the fight's on.” Although he left Birmingham in 1961 to pastor a church in Cincinnati, he returned often to help organize civil rights demonstrations, most notably in 1963.

(Reverse side):
In May of 1963, Shuttlesworth invited King and others to lead adults and children on nonviolent marches from Kelly Ingram Park to City Hall. They wanted city leaders to integrate water fountains and restrooms. The force of high-pressure fire hoses pointed at marchers under orders of Police Commander Eugene (Bull) Conner injured Shuttlesworth and
Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth Bethel Baptist Church Marker image. Click for full size.
By Anita Curry Nyambo, December 10, 2011
2. Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth Bethel Baptist Church Marker
Reverse side
others. King was arrested and wrote his famous “Letter from the Birmingham Jail” essay. National media coverage and the bombing deaths of four Sunday School girls in September at Sixteenth Street Baptist Church horrified the nation. Congress passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 the following year. The church, parsonage and guardhouse across the street were jointly granted National Historic Landmark status in 2005. The Bethel congregation completed a new sanctuary a block away in 2006. The historic complex was nominated as a UNESCO World heritage Site in 2007. Following his retirement from the ministry in 2008, Rev. Shuttlesworth returned to Birmingham. In his honor, the local airport was renamed the Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International airport.
 
Erected 2009.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the National Historic Landmarks marker series.
 
Location. 33° 33.116′ N, 86° 48.05′ W. Marker is in Birmingham, Alabama, in Jefferson County. Marker is at the intersection of 29th Avenue North and 33rd Street North, on the right when traveling east on 29th Avenue North. Click for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 3300 29th Avenue North, Birmingham AL 35207, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 3 miles of
Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth Bethel Baptist Church and Marker image. Click for full size.
By Anita Curry Nyambo, December 10, 2011
3. Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth Bethel Baptist Church and Marker
this marker, measured as the crow flies. North Birmingham (approx. 0.9 miles away); East Birmingham (approx. 1.3 miles away); Julius Ellsberry Memorial Park (approx. 2 miles away); United States Pipe and Foundry Company (approx. 2.1 miles away); Powell School (approx. 2.1 miles away); Duncan House (approx. 2.2 miles away); Jefferson County Courthouses (approx. 2.2 miles away); Sloss Furnaces (approx. 2.2 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Birmingham.
 
Categories. African AmericansChurches, Etc.Civil Rights
 
Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth Bethel Baptist Church and Marker image. Click for full size.
By Anita Curry Nyambo, January 15, 2012
4. Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth Bethel Baptist Church and Marker
Cornerstone of Bethel Baptist Church image. Click for full size.
By Anita Curry Nyambo, December 10, 2011
5. Cornerstone of Bethel Baptist Church
East face of the Bethel Baptist Church cornerstone image. Click for full size.
By Dodson M. Curry, January 15, 2012
6. East face of the Bethel Baptist Church cornerstone
Parsonage Bethel Baptist Church image. Click for full size.
By Anita Curry Nyambo, December 10, 2011
7. Parsonage Bethel Baptist Church
Near the Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth Bethel Baptist Church Marker
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Dodson M. Curry of Birmingham, Alabama. This page has been viewed 883 times since then and 5 times this year. Last updated on , by J. Makali Bruton of Querétaro, Mexico. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on , by Dodson M. Curry of Birmingham, Alabama.   6. submitted on , by Dodson M. Curry of Birmingham, Alabama.   7. submitted on , by Dodson M. Curry of Birmingham, Alabama. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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