BIRMINGHAM, Alabama – Birmingham plans to honor its most famous civil rights leader, the late Rev. Fred L. Shuttlesworth, this week on the 100th anniversary of his birth.

Mayor Randall Woodfin will declare Friday Fred Shuttsworth’s Day to coincide with his March 18 birthday. The proclamation will be published during the event at the Birmingham Institute of Civil Rights, and the museum is offering free tours as part of the celebration.

Shuttleworth, who died in 2011 at the age of 89, became pastor of Bethel Baptist Church in Birmingham in 1953 and soon became a key leader in the struggle for racial equality in what was sometimes called the most secluded city in America. Shuttleworth’s house was bombed, he was beaten and repeatedly arrested in the struggle for civil rights.

Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., an important ally whose civil rights leadership began in Montgomery and Shuttleworth worked in Birmingham, praised Shuttleworth for his courage and perseverance.

Outside the institute already stands a statue of Shuttleworth, in his honor named the city’s airport.

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