Civil Rights hero Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth died Wednesday at a Birmingham hospital. He was 89.

Shuttlesworth made a name for himself in the early 1960s according to the Huffington Post. “He was the first Black man I knew who was totally unafraid of white folks,” said U.W. Clemon, the first Black federal judge of Alabama.

When Shuttlesworth was a teenager he took matters into his own hands and organized his own sit-ins Nashville, Tennessee lunch counters.

“When others did not have the courage to stand up, speak up and speak out, Fred Shuttlesworth put all he had on the line to end segregation in Birmingham and the state of Alabama,” said U.S. Rep John Lewis. “He was beaten with chains, his church bombed, and he lived under constant threat of physical violence.”

A year before Barack Obama was elected President of the United States he pushed Shuttlesworth in a wheelchair across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma during a commeoration ceremony. “A symbol of the sacrifice that he and so many others made in the name of equality,” said Obama in a statement Wednesday.

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