Interview with Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth
QUESTION 51
INTERVIEWER:

MANY PEOPLE FEEL THAT THE BIRMINGHAM EFFORT, AND HISTORIANS SAY THIS TOO, COULD NOT HAVE HAPPENED WITHOUT YOU. AND YET, WHEN YOU READ SOME OF THESE BOOKS AND YOU HEAR PEOPLE TALK ABOUT IT, YOU KNOW THE NAME THAT IS REMEMBERED IS KING AND IT DOESN'T SEEM QUITE FAIR. HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THAT?

Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth:

Some other last night I was thinking about that. I'm happy to have been used by God because I regard this as God's effort to deal with men. This was a divine interjection, or interference in human affairs. And God always has to use men, and in every situation there is a man. There was a Roosevelt for Roosevelt Age, Truman wasn't Roosevelt, but after, but he made the decision to do certain things and history would regard him as a great president. There can't be but one person after whom an episode or a generation is named. Only God's name can go through all of it. And none of us can be God. This was King's day and I'm happy to say that I thought King was the person to be it. I was happy to be used and if I indeed thought that I never had any feeling of enmity, or—at his personality projection. I've been happy to do what I worked to do. You know, to, that I, if I could be the neck or the shoulders, or whatever. And always, I spoke whatever I felt, wherever and whenever, even to this day. I've never felt harmed by King's personality or image. I thought we were all in the movement together. I was happy to have him be the leader and I can say, as you say, had there not been a Shuttlesworth in Birmingham, King would not be in history today. But thanks be to God, all of us worked together with God to bring this thing about.