APT brings new Shuttlesworth documentary to the screen

Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth speaks with FOX6 WBRC-TV during an interview in 2003. (WBRC video)
Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth speaks with FOX6 WBRC-TV during an interview in 2003. (WBRC video)
Published: Dec. 19, 2022 at 10:39 PM CST
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - There’s a lot to watch this holiday that offers drama, strong, interesting personalities... And a fight for justice. As it happens, one such story you can watch beginning Dec. 20 features a Birmingham hero, the civil rights icon Fred Shuttlesworth.

This new look at the life and work of Fred Shuttlesworth was born in 2007.

“We filmed an interview with Reverend Shuttlesworth and it was for a separate project that never ended up coming to fruition” says co-producer J. Whitson. “So a few years ago I started thinking that we should use the interview for something because it was a three hour interview. And as I was developing the project, I approached T Marie and asked her if she would join me in helping to produce it.”

Activist and community organizer T. Marie King didn’t need much convincing.

“I mean, how could you not wanna be a part of telling his story?”

For the last three years, King and Whitson and have shaved dozens of conversations interviews and into 56 minutes they hope will teach some and remind others about the man who survived segregationist violence to change a city and a nation. “The one thing that Reverend Shuttlesworth did was inspire people to action” says Whitson.

King added, “Rev. Shuttlesworth was somebody who also held people accountable, and I think that’s something we could stand to be more, in tune with.”

Whitson also says he hope the film will instill a sense of pride in Birmingham.

“Birmingham produced some of the worst people in the world ever. But it also produced the heroes that are part of this film and, and that spirit still exists in this town and we should harness more of it more often.”

King meanwhile suggest the timing of the release is just right.

“Next year is the 60th anniversary of all of those things in ‘63 that we highlight in our film. And I just think it’s the proper, the perfect opportunity to start engaging in families around this topic.” 

The documentary premieres on Alabama Public Television on Jan. 20 at 8 p.m.

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