Route E:

March Towards A Purposeful Life

Location: From Linn Park at Rev. Abraham Woods Blvd (8th Ave North) to Oak Hill Cemetery/Downtown

The Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth was the driving force behind the Birmingham Movement during the 1950s and 1960s. When the state banned the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in Alabama, he organized the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights (ACMHR) in 1956 to replace it. Under his leadership, it became one of the most active civil rights organizations in the South. He launched vigorous direct action campaigns against all forms of racial segregation in the city, earning him the hatred and fear of pro-segregationists. His home and church were bombed several times. He faced angry mobs, police dogs and fire hoses. He helped and encouraged college students who also faced brutal treatment in the struggle for civil and human rights. He co-founded the national Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Rev. Ralph D. Abernathy and other ministers who were locked in the same struggles. The men were known as “The Big Three” among fellow civil rights activists and the media nationwide. He insisted that Dr. King come to Birmingham and together break the back of racial segregation. Dr. King and the SCLC came to join the ACMHR in 1963. Together, they gave the Movement its greatest victory up to that time. Rev. Shuttlesworth’s fearless actions for the cause of justice and humanity directly led to the ultimate success of the modern American Civil Rights Movement. This Birmingham Civil Rights Heritage Trail honors Rev. Shuttlesworth and his exceptional contribution to our nation.