Birmingham School Renames Auditorium in Honor of the Rev. Fred L. Shuttlesworth

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By Keisa Sharpe-Jefferson For The Birmingham Times Patricia Shuttlesworth Massengill, 80, — daughter of the legendary Birmingham Civil Rights leader Fred L. Shuttlesworth – said she tries to make as many events as she can to honor her father, but the one on Monday brought back tough memories. Massengill and her sister, Ruby Shuttlesworth Bester, 78, were in attendance as the J. H. Phillips Academy auditorium was dedicated in their father’s name. Rev. Shuttlesworth was brutally beaten and hospitalized after he attempted to enroll his daughter in the white, flagship school for Birmingham City Schools in 1957 and his wife Ruby Keeler Shuttlesworth was stabbed in the leg and Bester also injured. “The major trauma for me was the beating he took here at Phillips,” Massengill told students. “I was traumatized to the point that I never discussed any of this with my children. I have three kids and five grandkids and two great grands.” The ceremony came three days after the City of Birmingham commemorated the 60th year anniversary of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church bombing that killed four little girls. That horrific event and the activism by leaders like the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and Shuttlesworth would...