Books by Andrew M. Manis

Released: Aug. 1, 1999

An unsung hero of the civil rights movement takes center stage. Manis (Southern Civil Religions in Conflict, not reviewed), religion and southern studies editor at Mercer University Press in Macon, Ga., has written an exhaustive and compelling portrayal of Fred Shuttlesworth, the Birmingham minister who labored in the trenches for years, often risking his life for the greater good of all Alabama citizens. Shuttlesworth helped Martin Luther King with his Montgomery bus boycott and James Farmer with his freedom rides; he even supported sit-ins conducted by students on various southern college campuses in the 1960s. The group he founded, the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights (ACMHR), had been doing battle with Alabama authorities since the mid-1950s. But Shuttlesworth remained in the margins of the movement (and its histories) because of his brash style, his unpolished manner, and his strong, uncompromising will. Manis points out that King commanded the national stage while Shuttlesworth fought to integrate Birmingham's buses, lunch counters, police force, and parks. Some of the book's finest chapters examine the strategic battles and confrontations between Shuttlesworth and Birmingham police commissioner Eugene "Bull" Connor, which come to a bloody conclusion in 1963, when King's forces finally join with the ACMHR after much prodding by Shuttlesworth. The author takes time out from the movement to cover his subject's preaching and home life. The latter is more often than not depicted as stormy, but this helps humanize Shuttlesworth. A good read for those who think Martin Luther King Jr. carried off the civil rights revolution by himself, as well as for those who know better and seek more details about some of the other men and women involved. (24 b&w photos, not seen) Read full book review >