A Fire You Can't Put Out: The Civil Rights Life of Birmingham's Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth

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University of Alabama Press, Jul 13, 1999 - Biography & Autobiography - 672 pages

When Fred Shuttlesworth suffered only a bump on the head in the 1956 bombing of his home, members of his church called it a miracle. Shuttlesworth took it as a sign that God would protect him on the mission that had made him a target that night. Standing in front of his demolished home, Shuttlesworth vigorously renewed his commitment to integrate Birmingham's buses, lunch counters, police force, and parks. The incident transformed him, in the eyes of Birmingham's blacks, from an up-and-coming young minister to a virtual folk hero and, in the view of white Birmingham, from obscurity to rabble-rouser extraordinaire.

From his 1956 founding of the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights through the historic demonstrations of 1963, driven by a sense of divine mission, Shuttlesworth pressured Jim Crow restrictions in Birmingham with radically confrontational acts of courage. His intensive campaign pitted him against the staunchly segregationist police commissioner Eugene "Bull" Connor and ultimately brought him to the side of Martin Luther King Jr. and to the inner chambers of the Kennedy White House.

First published in 1999, Andrew Manis's award-winning biography of "one of the nation's most courageous freedom fighters" demonstrates compellingly that Shuttleworth's brand of fiery, outspoken confrontation derived from his prophetic understanding of the pastoral role. Civil rights activism was tantamount to salvation in his understanding of the role of Christian minister.

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A FIRE YOU CAN'T PUT OUT: The Civil Rights Life of Birmingham's Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth

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An unsung hero of the civil rights movement takes center stage. Manis (Southern Civil Religions in Conflict, not reviewed), religion and southern studies editor at Mercer University Press in Macon, Ga ... Read full review

A fire you can't put out: the civil rights life of Birmingham's Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

In this intriguing work, the first full-scale biography of Birmingham's Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth ("perhaps the most unsung of the many heroes of the American civil rights movement"), religious ... Read full review



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About the author (1999)

Andrew M. Manis is an associate professor of history at Middle Georgia State College in Macon, Georgia. He is also the author of Southern Civil Religions in Conflict: Civil Rights and the Culture Wars.

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