The generation of civil-rights leaders is further diminished by the death at 89 of a tough Birmingham, Ala., minister named Fred L. Shuttlesworth.
He was one of the organizers and heroes of the 1963 marches in Alabama’s largest city. Fire hoses and police dogs were turned on peaceful demonstrators, shocking the conscience of the nation.
Shuttlesworth’s church was bombed, and he was assaulted for standing up for his civil rights.
“Fearless, determined, courageous,” said U.S. Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga. As Lewis still bears the scars of his own beatings, that is a pretty extraordinary testimonial.
Shuttlesworth lived to see the inauguration of the first black president. When President Barack Obama was a U.S. senator, he pushed the wheelchair-bound Shuttlesworth across the Edmund Pettus Bridge, site of one of the infamous attacks on civil-rights marchers.
The times surely have changed.