Interview with Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth
QUESTION 28
INTERVIEWER:

WHAT WAS A.G. GASTON'S ROLE IN THE BIRMINGHAM MOVEMENT?

Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth:

Well, A.G. Gaston had money, he had prestige as a successful business man. But then most people didn't have money. They respect him for what he had. And he cooperated with us to a degree, a great degree. I don't, if you're asking me did A.G. Gaston make the movement, the answer would be no. He cooperated with Dr. King and us and, I, at one time when I was bombed out, you must remember I was bombed out of my house from '56 till up in '57 when I had to go around and raise money. I stayed in a motel but we paid for that. During the massive demonstration, I think he put up some money to help bail people out. On one or two occasions he got me out, and, and then, and Dr. Abernathy and Dr. King. All that was paid by, he made some donations and contributions and I don't, I don't downgrade anybody's contribution. Whether they were words or money or other things, because at this time there was a need for everybody to have some semblance of togetherness. And these times every little bit helps. We were friends, Gaston, and I, we were friends then, we never were enemies. And there was one time—since we're talking about Gaston—that I think when we pretty well had basically won a victory. The middle class people decided to speak up and wanted to take over and we just had to meet with Gaston and have him rescind the statement because we couldn't let the middle class take over because white people and middle class people have always talked. And the poor class just stayed back. But, it was settled and so I never had any animosity personally against Mr. Gaston. I think we have regarded each other to this day as friends.