Press Release

October 7, 2011

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) issued the following statement on the death of civil rights leader Fred Shuttlesworth. 

“America lost one of its most courageous and tenacious civil rights leaders in the passing of the Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth.  As a pastor, civil rights organizer and one of the four founding ministers of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the Rev. Shuttlesworth was a unifying force who brought together his own congregation and  others from across the South to stand against segregation and Jim Crow laws that oppressed an entire people.

“In spite of countless arrests, beatings and threats to his life, the Rev. Shuttlesworth never abandoned his fight for civil rights and social justice. Nothing intimidated him.  On Christmas night 1956, six sticks of dynamite exploded outside his bedroom as he slept and he did not give in to fear.  Instead, he moved forward with determination to put an end to what was then the status quo of separate but inherently unequal.  When a court injunction shut down the Alabama chapter of the NAACP, Fred Shuttlesworth led the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights to carry on the work of the shuttered chapter.

“He worked closely with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., helping to win passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.  These hallmark civil rights laws are Fred Shuttlesworth’s legacy to a nation forever indebted to him.  The United States still has a long way to go in realizing its goals of equal rights for all, but the memory of Fred Shuttlesworth will inspire all of us to carry on his work.”