Rev. Fred L. Shuttlesworth (1996) (3 of 5)

BCRI Oral History Collection
Toggle Index/Transcript View Switch.
Search this Transcript

SHUTTLESWORTH: --And so he was gonna come in 'cause I would hear him in the back door saying and all. You scared and you gotta not (inaudible). So, when I heard him, I hollered back to him saying, "James I'm coming out I'm alright." "That you Reverend, you alright?" I said, "Yeah I'm alright I'll get out in a minute go out and tell everybody be quiet." So, he was happy he turned around and went on back out and passed a policeman standing there so I put on a coat and went out there and him and his brother the policeman. I hit him right round in here somewhere. Big big guy weighs easy 300 pounds, 280 or so. And he had his cap on and he looked- we were at the back room. It was a six-room house and we were 00:01:00right where the back- you get off the back porch and get on the ground and he looked, and he saw me in took his cap off and took his handkerchief out and rubbed his eyes. I wondered- I never saw a policeman cry before. At least I thought he was. I didn't say anything. So, then he turned around, put his cap on walked maybe from here to that door. He would have been not quite to the middle of the house. He turned and looked at me again shook his head.

So, I'm walking along so he's ahead of me as far to me and that door, so he walked on up maybe against another time between where I am and that door. Maybe 25 feet, which would be a little bit beyond the middle of the house. We hadn't got to the crowd yet and on this side of the house, and he said- he hadn't 00:02:00spoken all this time- and he said, Reverend, I'm so sorry. He said I know these people; said I didn't think they'd go this far. Said I really didn't think they would go this far. He said I'm sure enough sorry. He said, Reverend, I'll tell you what I'd do if I were you, I'd get out of town as quick as I could. But I hadn't spoken to him either. So, I said, Officer -- I always just called them Officer -- I said, Officer, you are not me. And you go back and tell your Klan brethren that if the Lord could keep me through this, and bring me out of this, tell them the war is on and I'm here for the duration, it's just beginning. He didn't say no more, he turned around and walked off. And I walked out right behind him, and as I, as the Lord would have it, all policemen want to show their authority, you know, but people were really upset, it could have been a 00:03:00big thing, had I not sent Mr. Revis back out to tell folks I was alright and to be quiet and calm. But a policeman had challenged some young Negro, and just as I got past the porch through the hedgerow to the street, and this Negro was looking at this policeman and this policeman was saying something, he went to put his hand on his gun and this Negro had a knife, he say, I'll cut your so-and-so throat, and this policeman, he could have pulled his gun out, and so I patted him on the shoulder, I said, Now we don't need that. I said, Now, Officer, you need to control yourself. What you do if you can't control yourself, I have to call down to there. I say, They're excited. Said I'll have to call down and get you to move from out there, say, 'cause you aren't gone cause anybody any harm out here tonight.

HUNTLEY: Was this was the same officer that?

SHUTTLESWORTH: No, not the same, the big one had gone on.



SHUTTLESWORTH: So, I went on to my car, see I was going to the car as they were there. I think some of them had wanted to come in, you know, or something. The police trying, Git back! You know how policemen do. So, I went on and sat in the back of the car that was waiting for me, I don't really know now whether it was mine somebody had, take me to be checked out, but as I sat in the back of my car, just had this coat on, and the pants, and my little daughter was six years old then, the baby that's in Washington, and she always sucked her finger, and so she came and curled up in my lap and put her finger in her mouth and looked up in my face. They can't kill us, can they, Daddy? I said, No, darling, they can't kill folks. That's historic.

HUNTLEY: That's what the baby said?

SHUTTLESWORTH: She said, They can't kill us, can they, Daddy? Just like that. That was a night of nights. But I remember something, and I had a sense of a presence. Nobody can teach you that. It's not, you can't write it in a book fully.


HUNTLEY: Now of course that was designed to kill the Movement, to frighten people away.

SHUTTLESWORTH: To kill the Movement, and I got up the next day, and this is the other thing. You know it's amazing what God does. The average person would have been scared and been gone. So, I said to the, to people in the Movement who came, I said, We gone meet first thing in the morning, 'cause we had said we gone ride the buses. The Klan didn't intend for me to be around to ride. And the, so when daylight came, the police went and they wanted to know if I needed to tear -- I said, No, let it stay there, people are coming from everywhere to just pass by to see it, so I thought they should see it, I said, No, we've got time to get it down. I said it didn't fall last night, it'll stand up a while. 00:06:00And so, , I'm trying to think where it was, if it was in Mims's house or right out there, that I -- Alford was one of the key ones, Rev. Alford, who said, I think we ought to think this thing-- (?) Stone, who was my Vice President at that time, said, President, I think you need to really go somewhere and think. I said, Alright, everybody meet down to Gaston's, so that the people heard me tell them, meet down to Gaston's place down here on Sixteenth Street or wherever it was.

HUNTLEY: The motel?

SHUTTLESWORTH: Not the motel, funeral home.

HUNTLEY: Funeral home, okay, sixteenth street.

SHUTTLESWORTH: Yeah. And you'd be surprised at how God makes things come out. So, the press --naturally they're going where I'm going -- so I knew I had to take total charge of the situation or it could be a mess that day. First of all, 00:07:00I was a challenge to ride. There was a need to be sure the people were disciplined to ride, remembering nonviolence. And there was a need to do what we say, else we have been dead.


SHUTTLESWORTH: The Movement I mean. I could have been alive and yet the Movement would have gone unless we had at least announced a time to ride that day. So, when we got in, I said, Now, to the Movement, and you know the Lord does thing. I was preaching Sunday morning about how he made those Israelites, Egyptians, give them most of their jewels and stuff 'fore they left, so they had most of the riches of Egypt. I said to the newsman, we were friends, I said, Now gentlemen, I want to say something to you all. I said now I have to talk inside. I said I'm gone give you a scoop today, it's worth your waiting, but I cannot have you at the meeting, would y'all respect that for us? Yeah! I said, But 00:08:00don't go away now because when I come out, I'll have a scoop for you, and I'll let you know exactly when we gone ride. Well, they thought I'm going to be deciding whether to ride. Now inside, fear, fear is something. Most of my board members, I had ordered them to ride. I said all of the board members gone ride to show the other folks. And I was moved at how fearful they were. Rev. Stone, and Alford was almost (?). Now Brother President, I think that we ought to take time and think this thing out. I said, Well what is there to think out? I said, We said we were gone ride. And more than that, when I knew I was alive after the bombing, that's the first thing on my mind. We gone do what we said we were gone do. I said it's time for Negroes to learn to do what you say you gone do. And 00:09:00so, , Alford went on to say something else, but one little slender fellow -- I wish I knew his name -- he said, Now, Brother President, we come here to hear what YOU got to say, we didn't come here to hear these scared folks, we gone do what you -- and he was actually crying, and a lot of other people were crying, 'cause first of all, here I am alive. I said, Well, alright, let me just say to everybody, said, Now, so far as members of the board, if you all are nervous or scared to ride, I said, when I leave here, we going to the buses.

I said, now I won't look back. Find you any crack that you want and hide if you can't ride. Say, I'm not commanding, you're free from that, you don't have to ride 'cause I say so. I said, But I think enough people here will ride. I said, How many y'all want to ride with me? All the whole house went up. I think it even made some of the board members feel-- I said, Now, let's get together. Now 00:10:00you would think this is something after a night of a bombing and terrifying, but I was as calm as a cucumber, even in that bombing when they were, I said, Then now we got to get ourselves ready. First place, I said, All y'all want to ride? Yeah. I said, Be sure you want to ride, you don't have to, said, But somebody's gone ride if it's nobody but me. We're with you, Brother President. Well, I said, I want you to ride, and I don't want all you to ride with me. I said we're going down to 18th and 19th Street, 21st, up in there where the buses crisscross. I said, We want to ride all over town. Said I don't want you to get on, just go on one place. Go all over. Be sure somebody goes everywhere the buses go. I said, that's one thing. The other thing, when you get on the bus, don't gang up like blackbirds. I say, I don't want no two Black folks sitting 00:11:00together up front. I said, All Black folks gone sit up front, but leave space for your white brothers to sit with you.

HUNTLEY: One to a seat.

SHUTTLESWORTH: Yeah. I said, don't no two Black folks sit, I say, you sit down and you sit over here so the white folks have to sit or let them stand. I said, y'all understand it took time. I think one of the things that really made the (inaudible) go well was my calmness. I wasn't excited. I said and didn't nobody ask me was I nervous. I said now one reason the press, I didn't put the press out 'cause, if the press heard me say we gone ride today, the police would be up here and we can't get to the buses. I say, so the next thing is I don't want anybody here to gang up around me when we go out from here. Go, somebody start 00:12:00walking this way. But, the goal is, in so many minutes be down in those four-block areas where you crisscross the buses. I say, and let the press talk, you be saying and talking 'about nothing. I say, But we get to the buses today if we going to make history. I said, Klan made their history last night, we make ours for God today. And they were so glad. First of all, glad I was alive, was crying for me. I said, We don't have to get emotional about it. And my oldest daughter had been burned, not from the bombing, and here again God does some things for you. I better tell you this 'cause, see, people have to understand that God is saving us every day and we don't know it.

HUNTLEY: That's right.

SHUTTLESWORTH: She would get up early with an outing gown on and help her mama cook in the morning. And so, happened I was traveling everywhere then. I would 00:13:00just come home and change clothes and get right back on the road for days at a time. And so, happened that night that I stayed home, I didn't come and go right out, I stayed until the next morning, which I was going out the next day, 'cause I had invitations everywhere. And she got up early, and she had this outing gown on and was standing in front of this open-face heater and that outing caught fire. And I'm lying in the bed, and I hear my wife was saying, Oh Pat, oh Pat, oh oh Pat, what! And she was -- and I got up and the girl's gown was burning up the back of her thighs. My oldest daughter is burned on, and even her in stomach. And I could see it was reaching her hair and I just threw her down and beat the flames out, burnt my fingers and so forth. So, she had to go to the 00:14:00Jefferson Hospital here, thing rolled over, just like you, just like a burnt pig, you know. But she was real touchy, one thing, and I thank God for it today, she ain't gone miss nothing coming here to church, all she was saying was that she hate she missed church. But I rode to see her, that was the only place I was going, then I was going back home, you see, to see whatever else happened with anybody else that rode. So, then I called the press in after I had everybody calm. I said, Now you all decide. Two or three people want to ride in every area, at least three or four. I called the press in. I said, gentlemen, you all want the scoop I was gone give you? Yeah. I said, Well, I'm sure you wanted me to announce to you the date when we gone ride, right? Yeah. I said, And I 00:15:00appreciate your, said I got one more thing to ask. I said, In the first place, I said suppose I, I said you want to know the date? Yeah. I said before I tell you the date, let me ask you a favor. I said whenever we ride and the police see me talking to you, they gone know that I'm gone do something 'cause they know I'm in action. I said, So, whenever I tell you, I don't want you to go ahead of us, whenever that is, alright? I said, 'Cause if you go ahead of us at the buses, the cops gone know we coming, we won't even get there. I said, y'all know that, don't you? Yeah, yeah. I said, would you promise that whenever we arrive, you won't just go 'way up ahead of us, I said, stay with us, talk to folks, and you know where the buses going, if these things. One of them said, Well, you ain't said when. I said, I'll tell you when when you tell me what. I said, you can 00:16:00agree to that, then I'll tell you when we gone ride. He said, we gone follow you. You always have worked with us and we have respect for what you're doing. I said, Okay, we gone ride today. Gone ride TODAY? I said, Yeah, we gone ride today, right now in fact, and said, so don't go ahead of us. Talk to people, stay behind, all of it. Some of you can talk to me, talk. And we went up, and over two hundred and fifty people rode that day, all over.

HUNTLEY: Is that right? And this is right after the bombing.


HUNTLEY: Fifty-six.


HUNTLEY: Were you arrested?


HUNTLEY: Nobody was arrested.

SHUTTLESWORTH: I, I rode, see, the police thought we were gone go down and decide to ride next two, three days, they were getting ready for then.

HUNTLEY: So, they were not prepared.

SHUTTLESWORTH: When they heard the thing, we had already ridden, so they did arrest twenty-two, I believe it was, wasn't it? Believe the first ride was twenty-two.

HUNTLEY: Yeah, that's right it was twenty-two, that's right.

SHUTTLESWORTH: Twenty-two. And that give us the thing to make the case so we 00:17:00didn't have to continue to ride.


SHUTTLESWORTH: So, I rode on to the hospital, saw my daughter, came on back home. And by the way, the press was with me, you know, so I got up and gave a, so we were sitting down, a young white girl got up so I, 'bout halfway there, I said, Would you like to have my seat? (laughs) It was nice. But that's how we did it. And people were right, and I said, and they said, God saved him to lead the fight. And that's how I got to be the leader, it wasn't because, you couldn't have gotten Black folk in Birmingham to vote to face nothing like that. And I don't think most of the people who write about it understand. Even Dr. King was candid enough to say, I could not have done and survived and led the people in Birmingham, see. But the bombing, see, God does things in a way that you know nobody but He, just like the Red Sea. And that's the only reason I'm 00:18:00alive. See, that's why I think you should put those pictures up so folks will see what you come through. That's why I led Birmingham and why I didn't have to fight for leadership.

HUNTLEY: So, the people actually saw what had happened.


HUNTLEY: And that was like your baptism.

SHUTTLESWORTH: That was my baptism, but it was--

HUNTLEY: into leadership.

SHUTTLESWORTH: It was induction into leadership. They knew that I wasn't afraid because if I could come out of that and get up and ride the buses the next day, challenging the system, segregation (inaudible)

HUNTLEY: So, in effect, you along with the people, then, set the example for the rest of your leaders, in effect.


HUNTLEY: Because they were basically afraid.

SHUTTLESWORTH: They were afraid, they were afraid. But that did a lot, see, that bombing, and my coming out of it, and then, see, I could afford to preach God 00:19:00will provide, God will take care of you. And then I was never afraid, see, I was always saying that, moving on to something else, see, I never just stopped on the ground conquered, you, what that thing in the old Christian vernacular said, Each victory that you win over sin helps you some other to win, fight manfully onward, and that's been my drive. And I guess I'm a little bothered today because Black people, they think they've got it together, but they don't have it together. And we've allowed the drug subculture, we've allowed rock-and-roll, we've allowed rapping and other things to sort of take the idealism from the forward march. And then there's a tendency now, one of the things that disturbed Martin Luther King before he died was, you can't guarantee that you're gone have a nonviolent march at any time. You remember the violence in Memphis? But he was 00:20:00committed to nonviolence and so am I.

HUNTLEY: And that was very significant because that basically was the stance of the Movement.


HUNTLEY: And that, again, was part of that belief that you had. In order to really believe in nonviolence, you had to have that belief in God.

SHUTTLESWORTH: You see, one of the -- I don't know whether you want to just starting about incidents -- we can get a thousand, St. Augustine, Florida, here. But that was just the bombing thing. But one of the other most significant incidents, and there were many, and I guess we'll get to them.

HUNTLEY: Let's get to them, we've got time for one of them now.

SHUTTLESWORTH: In nineteen-fifty-seven, that was a tremendous year, we had, 00:21:00started out with the Carl and ________ Baldwin in March, and the court denied our petition for the schools.


SHUTTLESWORTH: And so, then it said something about the placement laws, Boutwell come up with the placement laws.

HUNTLEY: That's right.

SHUTTLESWORTH: So, I decided to make Boutwell place our children (laughs). I knew it was segregation, I wasn't moved. The Supreme Court could have declared it unconstitutional but said they would allow it on its face, in application. And here again, I blame the Supreme Court, because you see, white flight is largely a result of the negligence of the Court in moving to do things.

HUNTLEY: That's significant.

SHUTTLESWORTH: That's significant. And another thing I would say if I had any one biggest problem I had with Martin, after we came here and won the victory -- 00:22:00because people in Birmingham after that would have done anything, we had the victory -- I said to him the next thing ought to be, let's integrate these schools so that the white folks won't run. Course we went to Selma, as you know, and then to St. Augustine, Florida. But I said, if we integrate Birmingham schools before the white folks move out, that'll start others across, you must realize that, you throw a rock in the water and it has a ripple effect. And I was, I was real disappointed, many writers have questioned Martin's, and there are questions to be raised about it. But I was concerned to integrate the city and Martin was concerned with his name during this, and I think we both had kindred ideas and naturally he would have had his image to deal with, and I 00:23:00don't mind supporting his image so long as it does help (help?). You see, the violation of the court order, that had to be. Wasn't no way that Martin Luther King was gone come to Birmingham and get that many people in jail and not violate the court order. That's a whole other thing, and that's where we had this confrontation which even involved the President of the United States.


SHUTTLESWORTH: Where I was bombed, went to the hospital that night, struck with a fire hose? That's a chapter in itself.


SHUTTLESWORTH: But, all in all, and I'll just say this and maybe we won't get into detail.

HUNTLEY: Let me ask you to just talk briefly about the incident at Phillips High School.

SHUTTLESWORTH: Oh, at Phillips, fifty-seven, September. Okay. The Court said that the board had a right to "place" students, by all that "pupil placement 00:24:00law". Well, I knew they weren't going to place a lot of Negro students with white. And I didn't think mine was going to really get in Phillips, to be honest with you. But history would have to record that we attempted to do, that was why, and that's the second time I came ninety percent of dying, right there. So, I always announced and sent the police everything what I was gonna do, and I must candidly say to you that the policemen that were there were enough to have prevented what did happen, had they wanted to. But the Klansmen intended that, they had missed me in the bombing, fifty-six, Christmas night (inaudible) Christmas again, September fifty-seven, and I'm harassing and everything. So, 00:25:00they said, they met there and they said, Let's get this s. o. b. I don't mean ___?___. Said, If we kill him -- (inaudible) -- it's all over.

HUNTLEY: Where is this?

SHUTTLESWORTH: In front of Phillips High School.

HUNTLEY: This is what they are discussing as you.

SHUTTLESWORTH: They are saying, when I'm driving up, getting out of the care, Here he is, let's kill this S.O.B. today and it's all over. See, I had never seen brass knuckles before that day, and other things. And so, it was, it was two, maybe it was, I'm trying to see was it three or five policemen there. And so, when I, my two daughters in the back, and the young man, with my wife, were in the back. They were in the back, my wife's in this side, so she got out. So, when I got out, they came, they went after the car. Here again, you must look at the faithfulness of God. When I drove up, I act just normal like I'm gone get 00:26:00out and go in, and guy was over her, and they took my coat an pulled it over my head, I couldn't have fought had I wanted to, and carried me, kicking, stomping, knocked me down, must have fallen at least three or four times within the space of thirty feet, twenty-five, twenty feet from the car, and they were kicking and stomping and howling, and one policeman, instead of him using his blackjack or something, said to them, aw, you don't have to do that. I think they intended to let them get to me. Whether they intended to let them kill me or not I can't judge, but I know the Klansmen intended to. So, one guy had a bicycle chain, another one had brass knuckles. I was struck with the brass knuckles at least twice. And kicked, and as God would have it, and my wife got out to get the girls and the young man out of the back, and she had on a real thick girdle and 00:27:00one Klansman stabbed her in the hip with a switchblade knife. She didn't know that she was stabbed until the doctors over there examined me in the hospital and her hip started stinging, and they had to take care of her. So, we never got beyond the sidewalk, so they put her, after they stabbed her she had to get back in the car. And they didn't even bother the car. Look at what God does. Phifer had the sense of mind to wait. He didn't drive off. They were not attacking the car, they intended to kill me on the streets that day.

HUNTLEY: You were the target.

SHUTTLESWORTH: Yeah. And the door was left open of the car. So, they had taken me down, oh I guess far as that corner at least twice, kicking and stomping and hitting and, I'd been struck, and it was morning about nine-thirty, ten o'clock, 00:28:00between ten and eleven, somewhere, and I began to understand that if I keep getting hit, every time I'd hit, the light would become gray, and I realized I had to get back to the car, see, and I began to just discern where the car was, and I was about half, I was about to lose consciousness but God would have, unless I would have died on the sidewalk, so I began to struggle to get back to the car, so they were pummeling me and hitting me but we were going back toward the door. And one guy had a chain and he got right in front of the car door, he didn't shut the door, and he was swinging this chain, I could discern, and the guy had struck me with the brass knuckles again, and it was just gray and dull, and I knew if this guy had hit, he was setting to hit me again across the head with that chain, and I knew if he hit me again I would fall right there, and so 00:29:00he was swinging, and I said on the hot CBS film, Who Speaks for Birmingham?, a mob is so out of control that they're not really in control of what happens all the time.


SHUTTLESWORTH: And so, while he was getting ready to swing, I just, I knew I had to get in the car, so I just sort of stumbled into him and he bowled over, he didn't even get a chance to hit me. And I fell into the car and Phifer reached across and pulled my arms in the car and as I was getting in the car one guy kicked me into my side and I had just a slight few drops of blood in my urine, only time, that day. And I saw the camera, I wish I could find it, but we turned away, as Phifer was driving away, to that next street from the, that way, my feet was still hanging out the door.


HUNTLEY: Your wife and children were in the back seat.

SHUTTLESWORTH: Them in the back, they were shut up.

HUNTLEY: And your feet are just dragging.

SHUTTLESWORTH: My feet were out the door as we were going off. So, then, we go over the hospital, they had these two little nurses cleaning me up, white, both white. One of them segregated with me, and she was saying, Damn if I would let somebody do something like this, why, what, so I said, well you, and the other girl was trying to hush her up. I said, Well, you wouldn't understand if I told you. And they were cleaning me up, see, I was, skin was all off, and I had been struck here and here, and I really thought my arm was broken. So, they kept on, and I just didn't say anything else. And so, that other girl said, well, ain't no use to keep asking him, he told you you wouldn't understand. After look like an eternity, wasn't that long, a doctor came in, nice little old fellow, came in so apologetic, and he was so sorry. And he said, Well, Reverend, I'm so sorry, I 00:31:00just, and you know, lying on that thing out, everybody who could walk, it was all on TV, would come by and look at me, and I'm nearly like a skinned pig. And the doctor said, so he took me in the examining room actually, and I don't know how many x-rays he took of me. It looked like he come back and do it over or something. And after a while he said, I guess you wonder why I'm taking so many. He said, It looks like to me you had a terrible beating. He said, I'm trying to find a crack in your head, at least a contusion -- I think that's a small crack -- he said, but I can't find anything, x-rays don't show it. It didn't bother me. I said, Well, doctor, the Lord knew I lived in a hard town so he gave me a 00:32:00hard skull. And he took my pressure after a while, and it was normal, I wasn't upset.

HUNTLEY: Pressure was normal.

SHUTTLESWORTH: Yeah, I was just as calm as a cucumber in September. But I knew I had to get to the Movement that night 'cause Negroes had gone through a whole lot and I knew that after the bombing and with all of this, if they weren't contained this night, violence could easily happen. So, I went home, so the doctor said, well, I'd like for you to stay at least overnight so I can observe you, he said, I can't order you but I'd like for you to. I said, well, doctor, I'm glad you can't order me 'cause I'd have to resist the order. I said, in the first place, the only I would willingly stay, you'd have to have to two policemen inside and two outside the door to watch them. I said, now if I die at home I would die among my friends, but I think I'm all right. He said, well, I 00:33:00understand, Reverend, and I will release you but I really wish I could observe you 'cause you gone have some problems. I said, no more problems than the Lord wants me to have. He admired my courage and all that. I went on home. And I knew I had to get back to there, so we were at Rev. Stone's church over at New Hope just over that bridge, First Avenue. And you couldn't get around again people were half a block around because it's all over the news.

HUNTLEY: We can start again tomorrow but see that--what you've done there is you've put another piece into the bombing piece. See, all of that of course in designed to kill the movement, while in effect doing just the opposite.

SHUTTLESWORTH: Doing just the opposite.

HUNTLEY: With those ministers who were afraid, the people with your help, with you leadership were the ones that went on to carry it on. I mean that's 00:34:00marvelous--you earned your keep today.

[Interview resumes the next day- December 11, 1996]

HUNTLEY: Just give me a little more on the mob violence at Phillips High School that you were discussing yesterday.

SHUTTLESWORTH: Yeah, it was one of the three or four incidents where I was right in death's jaws, God wouldn't let me die. As I said yesterday, they really intended to kill me. They felt, they were shouting it out, let's kill this S. O. B. and other words, and it's all over. And I was aware that they were trying to 00:35:00kill me. And it's an amazing thing how you can submit yourself, even under pressure, and even understand, people must understand that faith goes much farther than we believe, or we understand. It takes hold, I guess, when you can't do anything else anyway. As I said, they had taken me sort of twenty or thirty feet from the car. And I had to kind of stumble and cajole, not cajole, not fight with them, I couldn't have fought anyway, but stumbling back toward the car because I realized that every lick caused the brilliance to turn into a sort of a grayness. And on my way back to the car, amid the kicks, curses and the slanders, people running into each other trying to do me harm, I was struck 00:36:00again with that chain and I realized -- I was struck again, I'm sorry, with the brass knuckles, and I realized that if I had gotten another lick I probably couldn't have even made it to the car, but I was very determined to make it, so I just, they were holding me, pulling me and so forth, and I was just stumbling to the car, and as I say yesterday, one guy was sitting near the door of the car and he was swinging that chain, he had struck me with it already once or twice, and I knew if he hit me I wouldn't make it into the car, and so, and I don't know what, you have to give God credit for how you come through. There was nothing that I had to prevent him from swinging and hitting me, I couldn't have anyway. But he was trying to get set to hit me, and I just sort of stumbled into 00:37:00him, and he bowled over and then I reached up and began pulling myself up into the car. And as I said yesterday, the camera, Phifer kept the door open, see, had he closed the door or had driven off, I would have died right there, see. We talk about how good God is and how he provides for any eventuality. See, we've got to remember that God does move in human affairs. He does do some critical things. So, and the camera caught it as I viewed it then, my feet were sticking out as the car pulled off and turned left from Phillips High School, went on over to the hospital.

HUNTLEY: Were there any efforts on the part of the Movement to have others there, other Black people there when you were going in or nearby or anything of 00:38:00that nature?

SHUTTLESWORTH: Rev. Woods always tells now, whenever he introduces me a lot, about how he was -- this is always a joking thing -- and I had decided, we had gotten together and I said, Woods, I want you to drive me. Woods was kind of nervous, said, I, I, I, I, Rev. Phifer, who was real bold, Phifer said, I'll drive you. He said, yeah, yeah, yeah, Phifer, you drive! And Woods tells that he viewed the scene and kept close eyes on us around the corner from where the action took place, he was there.

HUNTLEY: He was there.

SHUTTLESWORTH: Other side of Philips High, but he didn't come and get into the melee but he observed what was going on. But I, people are always thrilled to hear him tell how he wasn't quite as brave, and he always said, well, I always thought Fred was trying to get us killed. (Laughter) But we went on the hospital 00:39:00and I think I was telling you about how those nurses were, one -- it's amazing how even white people have different conceptions of things -- one was quite __?__, thinking I was a damn fool, this and that, or anybody who would let this happen -- why would you do it? They were cleaning me up, you see, getting me ready for the doctor to come. And I had said once, you wouldn't understand if I told you, and I didn't say any more, that other girl just kept, both of them white, said, he already told you you wouldn't understand. But I just can't, so I didn't say anything. And it's amazing, you might wonder sometimes how I was feeling or what I was thinking about.

HUNTLEY: Yeah, that's obviously what I've been thinking about, after going through all that, you still have your wits about you.

SHUTTLESWORTH: I had my wits, I was calm, as I said, when the doctor finally 00:40:00came in and took my pressure first, and I think it was amazing that my pressure was normal. God controls things, I wasn't nervous. And as I told you, most of the ambulatory people come down the hall, looking, and there I was lying on this, like a skinned pig I guess. My little girl, if there are some pictures you have already for sitting by me, the oldest child. And the doctor came and of course he was so very apologetic, said I'm sorry to hear, but my mind was on the fact that I had to get to the Movement that night. Because I knew with the tensions mounting, the police had been harassing us, and with my being mobbed, it was all over the paper, I had to at least put in a presence at the Movement, 00:41:00I felt I should, and let them know what nonviolence meant to us at that moment, and what violence would mean and would to do the Movement if they engaged in violence.

So, the doctor examined me, as I said yesterday, quite extensively, I thought he took too many x-rays, he said I guess you notice I'm taking all these x-rays, but I have to know, it's impossible for me to believe that you could come through all of this without any fracture, and I can't even find a contusion -- I think that's a small one. And I always had a ready answer -- Doctor, the Lord knew I lived in a hard town so he gave me a hard skull. That seemed to, look like, relieve him. He said, yeah, I understand. We both discussed the fact that 00:42:00God was in it, you know, God's will. And he asked me, he'd like to observe, he said, that you really need to be in the hospital, and I'd like to observe you overnight at least. And that just wouldn't set with me because I said to him, now doctor, if I go home and die I'll die among my friends. And if you order me to stay here, you'd have to have at least two policemen inside the room and two on the outside. And automatically I began thinking that if I had to stay, I would have written out some directions for the Movement. They expected me.


SHUTTLESWORTH: See, the Movement expected me to give them direction. And I knew that they were depending on me. So, he said, I was real pleased when he said, 00:43:00Reverend, although I can't force you to stay, said, I really wish you would. And I told him I said, if I go home, I'll die among my friends, over here I can't have anything to do with my death if I die. He said, I understand, so he released me, reluctantly, and I went home, and I was struck on this -- I thought this wrist was broken, and my knee, scarred, I was scarred all over, you know, really, we are as white under our skins as anybody else.


SHUTTLESWORTH: I was struck here, back of my head, I had some scars as was pointed out in that CBS film, I forget where they are now.

HUNTLEY: So, there were cameras on the scene?

SHUTTLESWORTH: Oh yes, yes, it was cameras just -- and they knew it. They didn't care, they intended to get it over, they intended to kill this s. o. b. and 00:44:00other names they were calling me. But I wasn't fearful, it's an amazing thing.

HUNTLEY: What was going through your mind at the time that all of this was going on?

SHUTTLESWORTH: (Laughing) I knew you would -- I knew, people ask me that, and I knew you would. You'd be amazed how your sensibilities focus on not only what is happening, but you understand the meaning of the moment and even the needs of the moment and you feel a sense of sorrow that it has to happen this way, and yet you also understand that it has to be undergone, it has to be, it's sort of akin to what that Gethsemane word he said, nevertheless if it's your will, I'll do it. And you're resigned to death, see. You must understand, I had no 00:45:00hesitation, if death had come that day, I believe the Lord would have been ready for me. But I was more sorry for these men, you can't understand, and I said in that film, how otherwise sensible, ordinary citizens, could allow themselves to be whipped up into a mob and they knew that they were being photographed but they didn't care.

HUNTLEY: Explain that how can you be taking all this punishment, this brutality, and you are feeling sorry for your attackers?

SHUTTLESWORTH: Well, let's don't think that anybody can't do it if God's spirit, you must understand that we are human beings, we are flesh, but there's something about us that's above and beyond our flesh -- our spirits. And that's 00:46:00what's connected to God. And if people can realize that we are to become a little bit more spiritual and receive divine unctions and impulses and directions from the Great Spirit of the universe, all of us could do better, and we would fear less, you see. Now Charles Billups, when he was taken out later on -- he was fifty-eight -- by the Ku Klux Klan, and I think they tied him to a tree and branded KKK on his stomach and beat him up and he was in the hospital, and that Sunday morning Nelson Smith and I went over to visit him. And I could hear him before we got in there, and he was saying, the first words he said to us was, You know what? I felt sorry for these men, I said, Lord, forgive them for they don't know what they're doing.

You see what I mean? This is what God puts, makes available to us if we would 00:47:00use it. And it would really do away with a lot of our anger. And it's sort of what King was talking about, if you can understand the spirit of nonviolence, even though you are hurt you don't want to hurt anybody else. You don't want to see anybody hurt but, but in a crisis, in a moment of, really, death, when you can't do anything but die or live according to God's will, you can be committed, you can be resigned, and yet you can be prayerful, and I was not only resigned to whatever God wanted, I was prayerful, but I was also determined to use whatever little strength I had, and commitment, to get to the meeting that night because I had to speak to them, so that they could control their emotions and control their anger and their rage.


And so, I went home and, they took me home, and naturally people came in all through the day but I was trying to relax and everything, and I would speak but my mind was on that night 'cause I knew there was going to be a multitude around New Hope, close to First Avenue viaduct. And I didn't know how extensively I was hurt. So, my arm was sort of aching, and we had to put that in a sling so I wouldn't be holding it down and it would be worse, so I put it in a sling, not for dramatic effect because I never believe in putting on airs. I detest people who put on shows, I think the biggest show that was ever put on was Calvary, for us, and I don't think we ought to be putting on a show. That wasn't a show, that was real, that was God's love. And so, we ought to be involved in realness 00:49:00insofar as humanly possible. But anyhow, this isn't a sermon, but it's just what I feel.


SHUTTLESWORTH: I asked the Lord, I remember that day, to not let me sink into a -- because I realized that when you're hit on the brain and beat all over a lot -- and I told you I had taken at least eight or ten blows directly on my head -- not to sink into a state where I couldn't command my facilities or, and at least couldn't be, wouldn't be, communicable, to the people that I went to see, and I really didn't want to develop a feeling of anger, and I didn't, thank God, because angry people don't express things best, even their good intentions, they don't express it best when you're angry.


SHUTTLESWORTH: And so, as the Lord would have it, I just laid down and relaxed. 00:50:00'Cause see, I knew God was in control, my friend, if you know he's in control and if you know at least you're doing what you're supposed to do, there's a strength in that, there's a sort of a resignation that you've done a job or you were trying to do, and where it says that if you love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, mind, soul and strength, says if you give it all you have nothing to fear. And I think that's the meaning of if you lose for His sake, you'll find. You'll find better life. And so, I got up that evening and put on my clothes and I had to put my hand in a sling because it was actually aching, and my knee was struck. I'm trying to see, I believe, if I recall, I had a cane because I didn't want to give way in my knee.


SHUTTLESWORTH: I said yesterday that, I said in our other interview that I had blood in my urine that afternoon when I got home. But that's the only time I 00:51:00ever saw the blood. I expected it more than that, I told the doctor and he thought that I was going to have, and asked me to keep in touch with him, but I never had to call him back.

HUNTLEY: Is that right?

SHUTTLESWORTH: Yeah, and so, my mind now is going to this meeting. And actually, there were so many people around the church.

HUNTLEY: People couldn't even get in the church.

SHUTTLESWORTH: You couldn't get in, the church was full, and I said to them, you know, they were so glad to see me, and they were -- and to see me in a sling and with a stick, you know, and then I was scarred, you could visually see my scars -- it really set them off, and I was listening as I go in, you know, I told them, I'll speak to you when I get back, so they made way for me to get in the church, and I got into the church and went up the aisle, and everybody was glad 00:52:00to see me and they were really incensed at how I looked.

HUNTLEY: How you appeared.

SHUTTLESWORTH: Yeah, how I looked. So, and my idea was that here nonviolence lives or dies, and how do you express it, how do you do it? And I wasn't thinking so much about that because as I told you before, God had always given me the ready word. I didn't have to sit down and think what I was going to say, and I don't think really people need to put on. You ought to be yourself. Be your best self-connected with the best about you, your inside and outward. It's what makes the best communication anyhow. So, I didn't have a written speech or nothing, and I didn't intend to stay because I was beaten up and ill. And when I got there and I sat on the platform, I didn't go behind the thing, and I sat on 00:53:00the edge of the platform, and I said, I hope you'll forgive me if I sit down, as you can see I'm a little wounded. And I, another thing that people realize, you have to face issues head on, you can't back off, you don't need to cut around and subterfuge, I said, Well, alright, how many y'all mad in here tonight? Everybody raised their hands. In fact, you're mad as hell, aren't you? Yeah, yeah, yeah! Said, in fact, you could tear up the town, couldn't you? Yeah, yeah! We gone, we gone. Someone said, Ain't gone get away with this, and all this kind of stuff. And I said, Well, I can understand this. I can understand how you would feel. I said, But you know what I've been telling you all the time? This is the price of victory. I said now, since you're mad, say everybody in here mad. I said, well, you know it's amazing thing, I'm not mad. I said, how many 00:54:00y'all were beaten up? Raise your hands. Said, Nobody was beaten up but me, and I said, well, it's strange I was beaten up and I'm not mad and I'm not angry, 'cause I know this is what it takes for us. And then I said, this is sort of akin to what the Lord had to go through in the Garden of Gethsemane. And you know, it's an amazing thing how that just settled down. I said, So, you will tell everybody, inside and outside, that we tonight are going to have our meeting, and I'm sorry I can't stay with you. Got to go back home and go to bed, but you will have our meeting and when you get through we are going home, going through the streets nonviolently. And not mad, I don't want a windowpane burst nowhere, and if anybody does do it, I want you to report to me so I can tell the police that that person did it trying to hurt the Movement. And I think that saved, it was God's way of preserving what we had done and build on it. And by 00:55:00my being, I guess, the leader who was willing to suffer like this, it sort of had a discipline. You know the Movement has a lot of value in Birmingham, they had far less crime during those terrific days than they had since or before.

HUNTLEY: Right, 'cause you had people who were--

SHUTTLESWORTH: Who were committed to something, and I don't want to mix a whole lot of things, I want you to--

HUNTLEY: That's alright.

SHUTTLESWORTH: But I remember the second time, the second bus ride, remember when the, the dubious ruling about sit up front and reasonably request?


SHUTTLESWORTH: And this time I, we had thirteen people arrested instead of--

HUNTLEY: That's right, you didn't ride that time but you were arrested.

SHUTTLESWORTH: I didn't ride, I was always the Kingfish that got Andy in trouble so they'd get me for conspiracy and causing a breach of peace and all this kind 00:56:00of stuff. But the point I'm getting at is while I was in jail, one guy was seventy-four years old at that time, same age I am now. And old people back then used to wear handkerchiefs on their heads so we in jail, and oh, I don't remember how many of us were in that cell, eight or nine, cell was about like this, and I was lying up on the top bunk, there's another bunk down there and people were talking, and this man, I was kidding him about this head rag, you know, and he came over to me to the bunk and said in front of them, he said, you know, he said today is my birthday, say I'm seventy-four years old today. He said I've been living all of my life, and I just found today something to live for. Segregation you see. Took incentive, there was no, there was nothing. As I 00:57:00used to say sometime and do now in speeches, we knew back then what we could not be. Young people now have to realize, perhaps, what they can be.

HUNTLEY: That's right.

SHUTTLESWORTH: and move on. But if we did all this, if we had that kind of courage, if young people, who helped even to win the Movement, had the courage, knowing what they couldn't be, to struggle nonviolently in a directed way and take direction, then what ought we be doing now, when we can be anything? See, they were talking about a Black man running for president or vice president. Just think of this.

HUNTLEY: Unthought of at that time.

SHUTTLESWORTH: Unthought of. Here in this city, couldn't be a policeman, couldn't be a fireman, couldn't drive a bus. And we have to say these things, and the young people will have to talk to young people. It may be true that sometimes young people don't listen to their elders or something, and maybe it is a period of disillusionment with the system, but young college people, young 00:58:00people who aren't in college, will have to say to others, look, we're depending on you, you're a part of us, and we're all a part of the future.

HUNTLEY: How many times did you go to jail?

SHUTTLESWORTH: (Laughs.) I quit counting at about thirty, I think it was, twenty-five or thirty or something like that.

HUNTLEY: Was there any time that stands out in your mind of events that took place once you were in jail?

SHUTTLESWORTH: Well, you must remember that I had the consciousness of what people could do to me in jail, that the system would kill me. And remember this, about that time I think a third of our police force were Klansmen or Klan-affiliated. Bull Connor had the sensibilities of a friendship with the Klan. And I always at that time -- it's amazing how God prepares you -- if I'm 00:59:00going to be arrested, there were people who made sure I got to the jail, just followed, you know, far off.

HUNTLEY: You mean, your people.

SHUTTLESWORTH: My people. And you know, it's amazing. People would do anything I say, and when I would be arrested or knew they wanted to arrest me, I would be arrested at my own time. They'd be looking for me, and I'd call the chief up and say, you looking for me? Yeah, where are you? I'm so and so and so. We'll be over to get you. Okay, you want me to come down? No, we'll be there to get you. But I would have gotten everything ready, my letters dictated to Lola and Julia, and people would be knowing I'm going into jail. James Armstrong went to jail 01:00:00with me almost, quite a few times I was arrested. I asked him sometime, I said, Well, James, what you go to jail for? Well, just to be with you. Well, I said, if there'd been any pushing you'd would have probably made it democratic, but nonviolently. But I'd always have somebody to know that I got to jail. And herein again we must give God the credit. He looks out for us. And although policemen at this time could beat Negroes and run them off, they had determination to follow. The policemen knew, you know. And there was only one time that I was arrested, I will say this to you, that I felt as if they were trying to do me in or something. They went way somewhere, and I'm back in the van, couldn't see, and it's night too.

HUNTLEY: Is this in a paddy wagon?


SHUTTLESWORTH: Yeah. And they might have been picking up some people in those areas I guess or something. And it was rough, and not like on the street, you know.

HUNTLEY: Are you the only one in the thing?

SHUTTLESWORTH: I believe, I'm trying to think, I believe I was. But those people who guarded my house and who guarded around the Movement when we were, were always, they had sense enough to do it in a way that police couldn't, if the police stopped and said, where you going, go back, others would -- it was a thing. And speaking of the loyalty and the discipline those men had. You must remember when the buses, and I realize I'm bringing in something here later, when the buses were burned in Anniston, I was getting ready to go up there because nobody was getting those people out from the Klan. And my men said to 01:02:00me, I said, men, we're going to take three cars. And I always say you can't carry a toothpick, scratch yourself and think somebody else did it, don't get angry. You have to go and, we have to go up and get them. So, I'm getting in my, they said, you don't need to go. I said, No, no, no, I wouldn't ask you to do what I don't do. They said, No, you have to stay here and lead us, we'll go. This is loyalty. They went into the Klan, near Anniston, and got those people. So, we can't think of events and situations in this world unknown to the eye of God or even under only his direction. I think just like he controls Nature, he really has things and do with our affairs, he doesn't make us robots, he does not take our thoughts and direct, he allows us a freedom within, but I think 01:03:00there is a certain direction that life is going to go in, regardless of us.

HUNTLEY: In either '57 or '58 there was a young man that was taken out into the woods and castrated.

SHUTTLESWORTH: Yes, Judge Aaron.

HUNTLEY: Did you know him?

SHUTTLESWORTH: I didn't know him personally, but the Klansmen were concerned that the police had not put me out of business. They had missed me in the bombing, they had missed me in the mob, and I kept going, I was pursuing the city and all this kind of stuff. And the man testified in that trial that they were just mad and they wanted to find some Negro, said they were, they would have liked to got me I understand. Course I'm thankful that God didn't let me go 01:04:00that route. He wanted me to go another route. But they just caught this Negro and castrated him. And really, he would have bled to death had they not put the turpentine there for pain, they called it giving him pain and it cauterized the wound. Here again the grace of God is.

HUNTLEY: Tell me about the Terminal Station incident.

SHUTTLESWORTH: Now this was in nineteen, what was it?

HUNTLEY: This was in nineteen-fifty-seven also.

SHUTTLESWORTH: Yeah. Now, there were one or two incidents, see, I have a picture of President Harry Truman coming to Terminal Station, and it had to be before that incident or it might be afterwards, I'm not sure, 'cause Lamar Weaver knew Mr. Truman was coming into the city -- it might have been after that incident -- and he arranged, he wanted me to meet Mr. Truman and I met him there at the station.


HUNTLEY: At the station?

SHUTTLESWORTH: I thought it was courageous for the president of the United States to come here knowing, and stand up, and I have the pictures, you have it.

HUNTLEY: Okay, okay.

SHUTTLESWORTH: The Terminal Station incident came as a result of this dubious ruling, instrastate versus interstate. Other words, you don't have to move if you're going across state lines, but you have to segregate if you're going within a state, intra, which to me was sick, silly. In fact I thought segregation was wrong anyhow, see, so that it's all one thing to me, and I, I don't know why I asked my wife to do it, because anybody at this time, I could almost ask anybody to volunteer for things.


SHUTTLESWORTH: But I always had the feeling, Dr. Huntley, that the person who 01:06:00leads, really, should affect, not only try to shape opinion and shape direction, but that he has a way of , he should give himself to what he asks others to do. And it's no different, I'm not making any aspersion on anybody else, that's just the way I felt.

HUNTLEY: You're saying that you would not ask anyone else to do anything that you wouldn't do yourself.

SHUTTLESWORTH: Right, right. So, I asked my wife, I said, we are going down to challenge this. And really, she never questioned, I said, in the morning. So, I always sent police notice and telegram that they should send a release to the state. I had to request protection because I always felt that the police ought to be sued, that you'd be in position at least to have them in court if they didn't give you protection once you have done it. So, then I had to give it 01:07:00time, so the Klan would know also.


SHUTTLESWORTH: And that was another morning that death could have taken place except that it wasn't God's will. So, we went, I got in, I had a suitcase, and you have that picture also in your file, and I had my wife with me. And I believe Commissioner Leadgood was in at this time. If Bull had been in there I probably would have gotten killed, being honest with you, because the police probably would have taken a different tack, I don't know. And I don't want to say bad things about Mr. Connor -- his record is bad enough without my making it worse. But we went straight up to the door, the white station, where you can go 01:08:00back to the right, oh, twenty or thirty or forty feet, and go in, between the terminals, between the white and the Negro entrance. And so, we walked up to the front door, and these people had filled that -- it was a whole lot of people as far as I could see of them, maybe I couldn't see although I was surprised that that many were in there, but they were at those doors, I couldn't have pushed in there had I wanted to. So, I walk up to the doors, and you have that picture, and this little fellow with a crew cut, like a German crew cut, he stood there and he said, Shuttlesworth, we don't want you in here. I said, I don't think it's up to you to tell me that I can't come in. And I was saying, we were saying, didn't say that much, and they were getting ready, and I could hear them 01:09:00in the background getting ready to push and make a push through the door, see, and while I was talking to him I was listening at him. Then I had my eye on the right as the policemen came, they saw they couldn't get in anyway, unless they had come in and started to battering folks. So, they knew that they could go in this door and come up behind and put them out. So, we were hesitant, my wife and I. So, when I saw the policemen go in, I just took her hand and left this young man, and go right on, went right on behind the police and that's how we got in in the first place, we never would have gotten into the station.

HUNTLEY: Oh, is that right?

SHUTTLESWORTH: Oh, no, no way.

HUNTLEY: The mob was already there.

SHUTTLESWORTH: The mob was inside.

HUNTLEY: Oh, they were inside.

SHUTTLESWORTH: They were inside the Terminal Station, we walked up to the white entrance.

HUNTLEY: So, they were like barricading the white entrance to keep you out.


SHUTTLESWORTH: Absolutely, absolutely. You know I wasn't gone go to the Negro, Colored entrance to test it.


SHUTTLESWORTH: And so, , the policemen, when they came up, they came up to where we were but they didn't say anything to the man nor to me. And I guess their strategy was to get in behind them, and I noticed in the back of the crowd they had started pushing toward the front. And I took my wife's arm and run right behind the policemen and run inside, because my purpose was to sit in the station. (Laughing.) That's the victory. To actually sit in the white room in the station.

HUNTLEY: Did you drive there that morning or did someone bring you?

SHUTTLESWORTH: I either drove or was carried, I can't be sure.

HUNTLEY: 'Cause I was thinking if you had driven and the mob had seen you, they probably would have attacked you at your car.


SHUTTLESWORTH: I might have driven and parked my car somewhere else. It wasn't that I was afraid to drive. And then I'm not too sure that I was organized, because I hadn't organized anybody too much, strange thing, normally I had always been, but I didn't have anybody qued up to support me in this, just me and my wife. As I think of it, that's about one of the most indefensible situations I sort of--

HUNTLEY: How did Lamar Weaver get--

SHUTTLESWORTH: Well, I'm fixing to tell you. So, I bought an instrastate ticket and interstate, intra- for her and inter- for me, I think it was. And we had already pre-purchased the tickets. Willie Williams was at this university over here the other evening, talking with Constance Motley, we talked about that, she was involved, and he was saying one of us had this type ticket and one had the 01:12:00other. Willie Williams was a young lawyer then. And so, , as we went in, the policemen busied themselves on getting them out, pushing them out, see, 'cause didn't any of them have any tickets anyway (laughing), so I sat, I wouldn't be right at the door but there were seats, most of the seats were empty, they were just ganged up at the door. So, I went in the middle of the station, I wasn't gone sit right at the door, either. It's amazing how you can get yourself so, in a position so indefensible. And so, I was there, and then, the policemen, as they were getting them out, one man, one policeman came to me and said, Do you have a ticket? See, he was gone arrest me if I didn't have a ticket.


SHUTTLESWORTH: Which I had too much sense to go in there without a ticket. I 01:13:00said, Officer, you know I have sense enough to have a ticket, so I pulled my ticket out, he didn't say any more. I said, You know I have sense enough not to come in this station without a ticket. So, he didn't say anything else. And it wasn't, oh-- so I sat there, and he went on. And it was I guess less than five minutes at the most that Lamar Weaver came in through that same door and came to sit down with us. You've got to admire the man's courage, whether he was a fool or not, people have to judge. And the policeman came in, and here's a white man, you know, sitting with a Negro anyhow, so that sort of nettled him I guess, but he went 'bout the legal way: Where your ticket? He didn't have one.

HUNTLEY: Mmm, okay.

SHUTTLESWORTH: He didn't have one so they had to put him out, so they him out, right out the same door. Into the mob. And that mob set on him, and they were 01:14:00pummeling him, and he had a canvas-top Cadillac, as I recall. I didn't see this, see, I don't want to give myself credit for things I didn't see. But tell me they rocked his car and almost tore the canvas off, and he barely got away with his life.

HUNTLEY: And then the police arrested him.

SHUTTLESWORTH: Police arrested him for running over a red light and the judge gave him a ten-dollar ticket. This was Birmingham in those days.

HUNTLEY: Right, right. You know, in 1959, after you had gone through all of this, what you're doing is developing the nonviolent protest movement. In 1959, CBS, I believe, did a documentary on Malcolm X that was shown nationwide. I guess this was really the first time that the Nation of Islam is introduced nationally. How did that impact upon the Civil Rights, the traditional Civil 01:15:00Rights Movement?

SHUTTLESWORTH: Well, we didn't have too much liaison with the Malcolm X people. I think people admire anybody who protests segregation. And of course, Malcolm X and others did protest a lot. They didn't do a lot of suffering like we did against it. And I never, I never got in a contest with them. I never did want to get into a situation where the System would have Blacks fighting each other. And you know, Dr. King said, and I believe, that really a man ought to be free. And if he goes after his freedom different from others, even in a violent way, Dr. King thought it was better for a man to be violent trying to get free than to be totally passive and enslaved. The only thing he said was that you ought to be 01:16:00willing to take the consequences for your actions. That is what's bothering people today, we want to act without being responsible.

HUNTLEY: Nineteen-sixty is the year of the sit-ins, and Bull Connor made the statement that there are sit-ins going on all around the world.

SHUTTLESWORTH: He assured the people of Birmingham that there would not be sit-ins. But you know it's not been accurately written. I had to be in High Point, North Carolina, the same day of the sit-ins. It was in that area, High Point, Greensboro.


SHUTTLESWORTH: B. Elton Cox was a small fellow then, he's heavy now, he's up in some place Illinois, above Chicago, I saw him here about nine months ago. But he had invited me to come up to speak, just like people do now, and the sit-ins 01:17:00started there. And so, when he picked me up at the airport, he said, Come on, I want you to go in with me (?). Before I would speak that night, this was in the afternoon, I got there, we went by the lunch counters in Greensboro and another place there close. And we went by and sat in with the students. That's not really basically written, history.

HUNTLEY: That's right.

SHUTTLESWORTH: But I was there when it started, and I was the one who called back to SCLC's office, see, Ella Baker was our executive secretary then. And I said to her, Tell Dr. King this is a new departure and that we have to support these students.

HUNTLEY: So, that's the beginning of SNCC.

SHUTTLESWORTH: That's the beginning of, yeah, SNCC came out of that.

HUNTLEY: Mm-hmm.

SHUTTLESWORTH: But I was in it then and I called back, so SCLC was knowledgeable 01:18:00that the sit-ins were going on. But I spoke that night in High Point and commended them and said that we'd be on. So, Bull Connor then comes up. Poor Bull. It's amazing how you can put a little man in a big place, and he makes the place either small or terrible.

HUNTLEY: Mm-hmm.

SHUTTLESWORTH: And leadership is what this country needs, in all time and in every place. At any rate, he assured the citizens of Birmingham that there would not be sit-ins in Birmingham, Alabama. And of course, I never thought, that's another thing, we never intended to have massive sit-ins in Birmingham. First of all, we didn't have the money. We didn't have the national backing to do it, but 01:19:00I know Mr. Connor could not prevent Negroes from sitting in, so I just made a 01:20:00statement that it is an insult to the Negro people for Mr. Connor to say that he can prevent us from sitting in if we want to sit in. There will be sit-ins. Well, that's a challenge you see. And I had to mount the challenge, the idea's challenge, anyway. 'Cause you cannot submit to segregation. Now how it was gone 01:21:00be done I did not say. Most people expected that you've got to have massive sit-ins and if you want me to go on and explain how it was done--

HUNTLEY: Yes, I would.

SHUTTLESWORTH: Okay. I knew that in Birmingham, Alabama, if we were going to have sit-ins it had to be--We chose the five stores -- Pizitz, Loveman's, Newberry's, I forget --

HUNTLEY: Britt's.

SHUTTLESWORTH: Britt's, for five of them. And I said to them, now, we'll have cars that take you not to the door, but within forty-fifty feet and to the sidewalk. And you must be aware of the policemen, and it was gone be two, they'd have books, you know. And we gave them money to buy, they had to buy something and if they went into court and didn't buy anything, Earl McBee, the city solicitor (?), they had begun attacking 'bout, yeah, you went in there to do this, didn't you, and they'd say, yeah, you went in there to sit in, so, and 01:22:00we'd say, no, we bought something. So, we gave them money, and then I set the time. I said, we identified where each lunch counter was in each store, and they had to, at a certain time, they would go in only one store, away from the counter, so they wouldn't take the eye of the police, and within three minutes they would be on the floor where the counters were but not near the counters. Before this time though they would buy a handkerchief or something, anything. And 11:30 was the deadline hour, and they were to be within twenty feet of the counter by 11:29, doing something not even looking at the counter. But at 11:30 sharp they would make it to the counter and sit in, not together but among the 01:23:00whites. Now this shows you how prepared Bull was. At 11:35 they were already in jail.

HUNTLEY: Is that right!

SHUTTLESWORTH: They would sit at 11:30 sharp. At 11:35 they were already in the jail. And of course, I never sat in, as you know. Charles Billups and I were indicted each, we got, what, five convictions out of the city and so we never sat in.

HUNTLEY: Was it Charles Billups that, Hendricks, I believe it was a couple of Hendricks brothers that actually went out to the airport to sit in at the Dobbs House, I believe it was called at that time. And they paid for, I think he told me he had kept the sandwich (laughs).


SHUTTLESWORTH: Yeah, and you know, now that was something that wasn't necessary ___?___ but it's showing that the people had the spirit, see. I wasn't concerned about any more sit-ins, but they knew that my spirit was, we attack segregation everywhere.


SHUTTLESWORTH: See, so this was on their own and really, I thought it was a beautiful thing.

HUNTLEY: Sixty-one was the year of the Freedom Rides.


HUNTLEY: And this is the situation in Anniston. It appeared that, and I believe you said that it appeared that any time anything is happening in Civil Rights in that era, look like Birmingham, Alabama, was sort of focal point.

SHUTTLESWORTH: Yes. Well, yeah, you know, first one on the roll call of states, first, at that time, in instances of tragic consequences and foolishness and 01:25:00stupidity. And the legislators and the governor had no hesitation calling anything during Civil Rights, and stirring up the people, so that naturally this was where, where it was going to be (?). There is a Scripture in the Bible that says, Light shines in the darkness and the darkness can't stop it. I believe in that and that's why, in my being here, and that's another thing, now the sit-ins were started, begun in New York. I didn't have anything to do with it. When I knew anything, it was being announced. And they charted the route through Alabama, Mississippi.

HUNTLEY: You mean the Freedom Rides.

SHUTTLESWORTH: Yeah, I mean the Freedom Rides, that's it.

HUNTLEY: From D.C., wasn't it? Didn't they come down from D.C.?

SHUTTLESWORTH: Well, see, it was planned in New York and D.C. but it started in 01:26:00D.C. And I wasn't in on the planning.

HUNTLEY: Right. So, when did you find out that they were headed to Alabama? Did you not find out about that until the incident in Anniston, or were you forewarned?

SHUTTLESWORTH: I knew that they were going to come into Georgia, and then to Birmingham. And I'm trying to see how did I have the communication, a lot of things escape me. I might have had some communication from someone in Atlanta. And I believe someone in New York, I don't even know who it was. You must remember, however, that in these times, whenever my long-distance calls, my phone rings, it's automatically heard in the police station, so when I picked up my phone many times, I could hear police giving signals out, and this and that. 01:27:00And one time there was a four-way hook-up, the police, the hospital, the ambulance service and my, and you wouldn't believe it, but there were times when my phone would just keep ringing at night, I'd take it up off the hook and it would ring off the hook, that had to be from downtown. So, that's a long-- this Freedom Ride, because it got hung up here.


SHUTTLESWORTH: And the federal government got in, this is, you're in a terrific point now, because we had always wanted to involve the federal government in seeing to it that the local people, local police, protected us.


SHUTTLESWORTH: So, the Freedom Rides were really, basically, the beginning of the actual involvement of it. And if you had, we had longed for Kennedy's telephone call to me and others after we got started, let's get started talking 01:28:00about it. So, they came in and got hung up in Anniston. James Peck and others were beaten up, that was a Sunday. As I recall it was happening near one o'clock or twelve-something, because I was dismissing service when somebody came up and said there's a young Black man out there bloody. So, I went outside, out in front, and he was bloody. By the time I talked to him here come some more. And then here comes this white man with his skull burst open. The first time I saw a human skull it was James Peck. They had hit him with an iron pipe and just burst his flesh.

HUNTLEY: Had someone brought them out to your church?

SHUTTLESWORTH: Yeah, well, where else could they go? They were already told that they could get in touch with me, see.


SHUTTLESWORTH: That was why they came to my place, couldn't go any place else. 01:29:00And you know there's some instances here that people don't know about. They intended to turn Peck over to the Klan. I'll tell you about that I hope, hope to tell you about that. So, Peck came. So, we knew we had to get him to the hospital. And I would imagine that, let's say, the latest would have been one or one-thirty. We went into my house and did the best we could then we had to send him to the hospital, and he had, I think they took over fifty-two stitches in his forehead, his head, all, he was really beaten up. Howard K. Smith described it in that CBS film. So, we sent Peck to the emergency of Hillman, Jefferson, whatever it was called then. And we said to him, Now you can't try to get no cab 01:30:00or nothing to come back, you wait till they get finished with you then you call us. I was going to send one or men back at him, 'cause I had cars, people guarded my house anyway and at a time like this I had any number of people that was available for anything. And then I had all these people, the doctor and his wife from Detroit, all of them integrated at my house. Bull called out there and said, You got whites and niggers out there. I said it's my business, what you gone do about it? Hotels wouldn't take 'em. At any rate, so, from that early afternoon until that night, at least past nine o'clock, James Peck was over at 01:31:00University Hospital. And I have no doubt they intended to turn him over to the Klan.

HUNTLEY: You think the hospital intended to turn him--?

SHUTTLESWORTH: The policemen, the policemen.


SHUTTLESWORTH: And I'll tell you how that developed. And there were a lot of things went on that day, there was communication, I was called from Detroit and New York, and of course, when they called me, Bull Connor and everybody heard it. But I had to be, you know, on the scene, but they were in my house, and we made sure there wasn't nobody going to, no Klansman or anybody else, involve these people. I don't know whether it was, what, twelve, thirteen, or fourteen of them. Young people, white and Black. So--

HUNTLEY: Did they stay at your house?


HUNTLEY: Were all of them there or did they stay at other people's homes as well?



HUNTLEY: Just at your house.

SHUTTLESWORTH: I don't remember anybody taking them 'cause we'd have had danger, you know.

HUNTLEY: You wanted it to be centrally located so everybody would be--

SHUTTLESWORTH: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Now if it was, but I had people if I had needed to put them somewhere. But I don't recall now anybody taking them. If it would have been, it would have been some trusted person, like Colonel Johnson or somebody to come there and take them.

HUNTLEY: But you were talking about Peck.

SHUTTLESWORTH: Peck is the main focus right at the moment. So, we gave him a dime. So, he called. And almost as if it was something speaking to me, say, why don't you go? Normally I would have sent two men in the car with him. And then we had always two or three other cars following that one, far off, to be sure 01:33:00they, you know, and I stayed home to find out what happened, I would have stayed home to find out what happened. But tonight, something said to me, You go. And if I hadn't I'm sure Peck would've been turned over to the Klan. So, I said to him, now, when he called I said, Now, we gone come up and drive under the shed and you out and get in the back, we gone open the door and just right on out and get in and then we gone pull off. So, there were several cars, and like, you had driven your car and parked, but you may get in another, somebody else's car and drive. So, I was in the car with someone who was in another person's car. And we drove, so when we pulled in we noticed a three-wheeled policeman sitting right at the door, one down the street, two or three police cars space, so we pulled in and he came out and got in, in the back seat. So, I'm sitting in the 01:34:00passenger's side and this other man in the back. Now the other cars were following inconspicuously to see what happened, if anything had happened at the hospital or anywhere else, we would have known it. And so, we came out Avenue F, 6th Avenue, and come up to the one way coming across, which was 21st, isn't it?

HUNTLEY: That's right.

SHUTTLESWORTH: When we pulled off, the three-wheeler pulled off, right behind us, and when we got into the street good the police car that was sitting down the street pulled off and was another three-wheeler in front of us and when we passed them, they got behind us. And so, we up from, what is that, twentieth street to twenty-second. And by the time we got to twenty-second street, there were at least two police cars behind, but the three-wheelers were up with us. 01:35:00And they made sure that we got up on the viaduct where we couldn't turn off, couldn't run or nothing. And by time we got not to the mid-point but up far enough so that we couldn't get off any place, to maybe a third of the way, this three-wheeler comes up to this fellow, to the driver's side, Pull over! Incidentally when we pulled off from the hospital I said, Now don't go over ten miles an hour, we're not gone have a speeding ticket or anything else. So, the policeman said, What's your name?, no, he said, Where you going, boy?, or something like that. He said, I'm going back over the North Birmingham. He said, What's your name? Told him his name. Said, Let me see your driver's license. Where your car registration? So, he told him he was in another fellow's car. Oh, 01:36:00a stolen car! I didn't say anything until he said that 'cause I knew where he was going. And so, he said, Oh, we got a stolen car here. I said, Officer, I'm sure you know that this man would not come over here in a stolen car. I said, And I'm sure you know that everybody's aware of what's going on in this city and I'm sure that you're not going to arrest anybody here for a stolen car tonight. Said, What the hell you got to do with it? I said I've got everything to do with it. Well, who the hell are you? I said, I'm Reverend F. L Shuttlesworth and I'm sure you know the name. Won't be no stuff tonight. Said, What did you say your name is? I said, F. L. Shuttlesworth and you know it well. He said, So-and-so, Shuttlesworth, and you could hear them talking. He said, So-and-so, Shuttlesworth, he said, Aw, hell, let 'em go. I'm hearing this, they would have 01:37:00detained them. So, we went on and got safely to the house. And I thank God always that I was there that night 'cause it would have been a calamity, another black mark on Birmingham. But went there and then we were in the house all the next day. Well now the government, you see, at this time we had begun pressing from New York and all around, the government to see to it that the people were protected. That people traveling the interstate, intra-state and all this, would be actually protected by the police department. So, then the White House gets involved in it. Robert Kennedy was President Kennedy's point man, you know, I, we were in Robert Kennedy's office when Meredith was put in in Mississippi.

HUNTLEY: Oh, you were?

SHUTTLESWORTH: Yeah, and I've been there any number of times, but at this time, 01:38:00he called to ask, what could we do? I said, Well, these people are here, and they've got to get off, and you can assist us in seeing to it that we are protected and so forth and so on, very polite. And they had already called the police, Bull Connor, __?___, and the governor also. So, I think we sat in the station and they were trying to go out, and the white, the bus drivers refused to do, so we stayed in the station all night, and I wish the public could hear the conversation between Robert Kennedy and me, so Kennedy calls me at home, and I went down to the bus station, and said, Well, what can I do? I said, Well, you can get, you can see if you can get the buses rolling. He said, Well, white 01:39:00driver won't drive them? Well, tell them to get a Negro. (Laughs) I said, Well, you know they ain't gone hire no Negro here. And he was telling me first of all, could I negotiate with the bus? I said, I don't hire buses, I'm not into that, y'all see to these people. Then he said, Well, tell them that if the white drivers won't drive, I'll put a Negro driver on and the Air Force jet will be there within the hour. Then the whites decided they were gone drive, see? And of course there were thousands of people around that bus station. It's amazing something didn't happen.

HUNTLEY: Was this day or night?

SHUTTLESWORTH: We went (?) in the day, but you know we stayed all night, had to stay all night, we ate everything out of the, and you know it's an amazing 01:40:00thing, you know I walked out and among those Klansmen just like walking in this place, and didn't fear, and they knew who I was. But I went, and if I go out to do something, I went home, couple of times, came back.

HUNTLEY: But every time a bus driver came and he found out what was happening, he would not drive.

SHUTTLESWORTH: Right. So, I told Mr. Kennedy, I wasn't negotiating with no bus drivers, I don't hire drivers, very courteous, very pointed, though. And every time he called, Bull and me get cursed out, but he would tell us, now, you have to do your job and we do ours. You know we don't want to put marshalls in there, but we can federalize the troops if we have to, you know, all that, it's amazing the use of power. But knowing how to use it is what's important. And naturally 01:41:00the local officials didn't want to be superseded, so they had to give appearance as if they would reluctantly go along just so far, but here is the point I want you to get to. Robert Kennedy was so happy when finally, the bus drivers agreed to drive, so he calls me back, he said, Rev. Shuttlesworth, he said I understand the driver's gonna drive, yes, say now, he said, do you have to go through Mississippi? I said, yeah, he said, Oh God, Reverend, said, the Lord ain't been to Mississippi in a long time. I said, Well, that's why we want to go, Mr. Kennedy, so that we can get the Lord in Mississippi. (Laughter) He said, My God, well, can't you go to New Orleans? I said, Mr. Kennedy, I didn't set the route. I said, the route was set in Washington and New York, you know about this. He said, I'll tell you what, I'm gonna make arrangements for, I'm gonna call the 01:42:00governor of New Orleans, of Louisiana, he was suggesting that we go to Louisiana. I said, Mr. Kennedy, didn't you say that the government can't tell people in a free country where to go? Said, these people are going to Mississippi. And that's when he asked me, he said, Are you going with them? I said, Mr. Kennedy, I don't ask people to do what I don't do. He said, Oh my God, I hadn't thought about that. And then, you know, I was arrested. I'm sure that he made up his mind that if I got killed it would have been tragic.

HUNTLEY: So, you think that they had you arrested?

SHUTTLESWORTH: I think Bobby Kennedy made a deal with Chief Jamie Moore to arrest me, 'cause you know when the buses did run, I'm a little ahead of myself, you see, the whites, you must remember now, don't get it confused. The original 01:43:00group didn't ride the buses, they had to go back to my house, and they tried to get off on a plane, remember, they flew on a plane.

HUNTLEY: That's right, some students came in.

SHUTTLESWORTH: Yeah, and here again is a whole, I told you, this is a long thing. So, I get a call when they flew off, the plane flying off, and the Klan clapping (claps) 'cause they couldn't get out on a bus. I get a call, and I'm supposed to go out of town to speak somewhere, Rev. Shuttlesworth, this is Diane Nash Bevel, students at Nashville. I said, How are you? She said, Well, the students have decided to take up the bus ride. I said, Young lady, you realize that somebody could get killed here? Do you know what has happened? She said, Yes, we know it, and we don't think that violence is supposed to stop this. I was so glad and yet I was shaking in my boots that some more people were going 01:44:00to come in and really get messed up. I said, Well, do y'all have to, she said, oh, yes, we have voted to come, and they are on their way. I said, Well, we have to, I said, I'm supposed to go out of the city, but I have to be here, I can't let y'all come in here and nobody knows. She said, that's why we contact you, to let you know we're coming. She said, the group will be coming tonight. Well, Bull took the first people back, you know, and put them out two o'clock in the morning at the Nashville line. So, she calls me back, I said, Well, we have to, and I knew that I was being heard, but sometimes when they're busy doing other things, I said, Well, let's develop this thing, you send your governor and your police commissioner exactly when they are coming, and then you call me and say, The chickens are on their way, some will be roosters, that means men, pullets, 01:45:00that'll be young women, hens, old women, dominic, mixed race, mixed. See, you tell me, then I'll call my police commissioner and tell them what time y'all are supposed to get here. So, by the time Bull thought he had freed himself, the group was in here, she said, The chickens are on their way, some are rednecks, and dominics (laughs), it was beautiful, the Lord was with us. And so, they got in, and we were hung up there at the bus station.

Now, I was in and out because I was going to be sure, and this is where Robert Kennedy called me in, What can we do? Whites won't drive. Well, can you talk 01:46:00with them? I said, I'm not a negotiator. When I told them that Kennedy say he'd have a Black driver in the Air Force jet within the hour, then it was decided that they were going to drive. Meanwhile President Kennedy had decided to send his special, what do you call it, assistant, John Seigenthaler, who was beaten up in Montgomery, remember.


SHUTTLESWORTH: And so, , 'cause if I had been in it, I'm sure now I would have been killed because, and I thanked John Seigenthaler, we were speaking at University of Northern Kentucky, and I said, You got beaten up for me, so I appreciate that. I said, a white man, I said the thing's gone get better when white men are beaten up in Negroes' places, just put it like that, but back to the thing here. So, they finally got everything ready to go. Well now, I always 01:47:00had sense enough to get my ticket. So, I'm getting, buses finally getting ready to go, and I'm making sure everybody is ready, you know. And it's amazing, so many Klansmen around the bus station but didn't nobody bother me. And so, I decided when the buses getting to roll, I went to get up on the, I went to step up on the bus and Chief Jamie Moore called me by name, Freddie Lee? Are you going to ride the bus? (laughing) I said, Of course I'm going to ride. I said, and I flagged my ticket into him, I said, I've got my ticket and I'm going to ride and you can't stop me. He said, I'm going to give you a lawful order to, what did he say, to not ride the bus or something like that, and if you don't I'm going to arrest you for refusing to obey a lawful order of a police. I said you can't give me no lawful order not to ride and I've got a ticket to ride and 01:48:00the right to ride. So, I'm gone ignore him, I'm gone step up and I got to I think the middle step and he grabbed me right in my collar, just gently pulled me, didn't snatch, gently pulled me down, and took me to jail, said, I'm arresting you for refusal to obey an order. And I'm sure that, as I look at it now, that Kennedy had decided I shouldn't get killed, because he knew I was going to ride. I said I don't ask other people to do what I don't do. He said, You must go? I said, I must go. Well, you know, they rode into Montgomery and it was a fiasco, beaten up, boy's teeth knocked out and it was just terrible. Well, 01:49:00I'm in jail, see.

HUNTLEY: You're safe in jail.

SHUTTLESWORTH: No, but I wasn't safe. I'm trying to get out. And immediately I was bonded out but the buses had already gotten to Montgomery. So, I got in my car and the first time that I had been photographed without my mustache -- I'd had a mustache since I was fourteen -- was I was rushing, you know, to get ready to go to Montgomery that night. And I had whacked too much off and I just whacked it all off, made my lips look like it swoll. But I got in the car and I flew. They could have arrested me for flying, but I got down there at night and it was a night of nights. The federal marshals were there, the Klan, they were really upset. And we were in Ralph Abernathy's church, the First Baptist Church, 01:50:00and I don't recall any incidents in my getting in, but I got -- and it might have been that some men drove me down, they would drive me anywhere, or I might have driven myself, I don't remember right at the moment -- but I got out and went into the church and tear gas smells, first time I ever smelled tear gas.

HUNTLEY: Tear gas smell in the church?

SHUTTLESWORTH: Yeah, the marshals had to use tear gas on them Klansmen on the outside. And so, we were there that night. And we were talking, Martin and Ralph were glad that I got there because they were a little bit unsure about what had happened, and then the governor had declared limited marshal law. See, Kennedy had forced him to do something, else he would have federalized the guard. So, 01:51:00they allowed Patterson -- was Patterson in then or Wallace? -- whoever was in.

HUNTLEY: Wallace was in.

SHUTTLESWORTH: Wallace was in then. Limited marshal rule, I believe it was. So, Martin made that announcement, it was good, you know, limited marshal rule, we thought it meant troops, and we were disappointed when we found out it wouldn't mean federal troops. It was a national (?), limited. So, then, it's written somewhere, and I guess I'll say this, I never did have fear. It came that James Farmer was at the airport and he had to come in.


SHUTTLESWORTH: Yeah. And so, I volunteered to go out and get him, forget all those Klansmen out there and how I got in. (Laughs) So, I went and got him, went 01:52:00to the airport, and when I came back they had really gotten ferocious, and it was tear gas all on the outside and marshals were being hit and all this kind of stuff, and James Farmer said something about he thought I was the bravest, most courageous man, and you know, when we got to where we had to go in, I said, Get back, folk, coming through! And they just fell back like, I was shocked myself.

HUNTLEY: Is that right?

SHUTTLESWORTH: Went right on through and went up into the church. Then the adjutant general took over and told us all that we had to stay there, and talked very nice, but he said, I insist on it. And it was in that time that we stayed in Montgomery so that wherever we went, let's see, were we at Martin's house or Ralph's house, whichever, and wherever we would go the Guard would take us, we 01:53:00had deliberately made places to go and ride with the National Guard, and I told Martin and Ralph I said, Now we're getting some of our own tax money. They took us everywhere we wanted to go. So, we, I think it was for a day or two we were in that situation. And then it came time for the buses to go to Mississippi. And I had already promised, and Kennedy knows now that I am back in Montgomery, also Martin and Ralph and all of us were supposed to ride. I guess, I don't know whether Martin was going to ride or not, I really don't know. But I was, course I'm in Montgomery, and I went there to ride, to prevent it being Birmingham. And so, we're down, we're in the white waiting room at the bus station, sat down at 01:54:00the lunch counter, and of course I led the integration because I was going to make sure, I said, well, we're here and we must integrate! (Laughs) So, we were in the white, Ralph didn't want to go, Martin said, well, you know we got to go 'cause if he gets arrested, I said, that's right, let's go. So, we're in the white waiting room and white restroom and everything, integrated it totally. And I didn't, I felt something happening, I didn't know what, but, so when the buses came and people began to load up, the folk, then we were arrested, again, in Montgomery, see. Wyatt T. Walker, I'm trying to see whether Martin and Ralph were there, I'm pretty sure they were, I was, and several others of us who were going to go on the bus, so they arrested us.

HUNTLEY: They arrested you before you could get on the bus.


SHUTTLESWORTH: Before I could get on the bus. And then the others rode the bus into Mississippi, you know they let the people down there arrest them. (Laughs)

HUNTLEY: That's right.

SHUTTLESWORTH: It's an amazing thing. And so, we were in the Montgomery jail. And naturally I'm the actionist, and Wyatt T. Walker, also. See, one of the -- you must remember, and I should say this -- one of the reasons for the success of the movement in Birmingham and elsewhere was I'm an actionist and so was Wyatt T. Walker. Wyatt is a dramatist, you know, we were right together. And what we felt, basically, Martin had to go, 'cause Birmingham was under my--

HUNTLEY: You all usually agreed on--

SHUTTLESWORTH: Wyatt and I were right together on strategy and movement. In fact, we made most of it. And so, we were in jail. So, we decided in jail we were going to fast and not eat. Wyatt said, Well, we ought to take a little 01:56:00coffee for liquid's sake. I said, No, no liquid. (Laughter) And then that night -- we didn't stay there long -- that night that we refused it, they wouldn't give us blankets or something and we had the sheriff to come down and talk with us, 'cause we wadn't gone eat and wadn't gone shave or something, we were just, it was, we had to embarrass the system. It was not that we were trying to make anybody look bad. And, I'm trying to think, that's about the highlights, except for Ralph's snoring, Ralph was the world's greatest snorer. Ralph was in, we were in jail here in Birmingham, but in Montgomery was, as I recall, Ralph was in the cell right above me, and he snored and hit those metal walls and reverberate through that, and I always say that Ralph was the world's greatest snorer. But we had camaraderie, we had fellowship, we knew we were going, we 01:57:00knew we were winning. But the point here is that the government directly involved itself in the protection of citizens in the performance of carrying out of their own privileges. And that was the high mark for us. Of course, in Mississippi, I thought that it was bad that they were turned over to the officials there and it didn't move, but you know, God had his own reasons. People came into Mississippi, and schools, and all this stuff, and Mississippi has more Black people now in office than Alabama, doesn't it?

HUNTLEY: That's right, it does.

SHUTTLESWORTH: So, you see, it's God moving in history.

HUNTLEY: Sixty-two was the year of the selective buying campaign and there was a relationship that seemingly developed between the Movement and Miles College students.



HUNTLEY: Can you talk about that?

SHUTTLESWORTH: Well, the Movement, my position was, we had to be supportive of any movement, whether they were "us" or not, because, really, in the segregation struggle, all of "us" is "us", all of "us" are "us", you know. And I thought it was nice for the students, they wanted some interdependency, and so we were supportive, and they knew also that if they didn't have the backing of the Movement, if they got in trouble, they wouldn't-- We had cooperation and I was really glad to see.

HUNTLEY: Was there, also at a point in '62, the students had started doing some door-to-door solicitations.


SHUTTLESWORTH: There were interspersions, it's difficult sometimes for me as I haven't just taken time and jotted these things down, but we were always generally supportive of anything any group did, including, when we first started, we're ahead of this now but remember, the preachers wouldn't go, and they organized the Betterment Association?

HUNTLEY: Right, right.

SHUTTLESWORTH: It's interesting -- I should say this because people should know -- at one time Ware had said, in the conference -- they wouldn't endorse a petition for Negro policemen -- and that's the time when he said, Well, brethren -- and people are talking up for this -- so he said, well, don't say nothing good about it, don't say nothing bad about it and it'll be gone in two weeks like everything else these little Negroes running around here trying to do. Well, I didn't take no offense. So, they organized the Betterment Association 02:00:00with E. W. Williams of Fairfield. Well, I took the position, as I said to our Board, that we should be supportive, and we are glad that the preachers are organized. Although we were preaching we are not gone crusade. They were trying to show that they were adequate to speak words for the moment, but that era called for actions and they were not actionists. So, I didn't try to dominate their meeting, but Rev. Gardner and I went down to, I believe it was St. Paul church, one of the churches that the Betterment Association was meeting in, it was two or three weeks after they organized. And I just wanted to state my position to them. And they, Dr. E. W. Williams was on the floor down in front talking -- we sat in the back -- and one or two of the people had noticed that I 02:01:00had come in but he was down there talking, and they had quite a few preachers there, naturally they are good at organizing you know. And he was round there saying that, I'm not gonna bow! Loud and funny. These little Negroes running around here, and so-and-so-and-so (mimics in a high voice), and I'm now gonna bowww! He hadn't seen me. So, finally, he had said that two or three times and was saying other things, and one of the fellows said, Well, you ought not to talk so much, action is what speaks. Yeah, but I'm not gonna bow! I don't know what he was talking about but he was dialoguing against me. So, the man said, Why don't you talk to the man, he's here himself, and he went almost go through the floor when he looked up and saw I was there, and so, and he said some kind of mealy-mouth word, Rev. Shuttlesworth, why don't you come on down, we're glad that you are here. But he'd been sitting there talking, saying some pretty rough--


HUNTLEY: 'Cause he didn't know you were there.

SHUTTLESWORTH: He didn't know I was there. And so--when I got up, and you know, I realize that you don't need to fight with people in public.