The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Shuttlesworth’s View of What was Accomplished by the Movement

Oct 17, 2011

The following quote from Shuttlesworth was published by the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights.

“When one considers the original demands of the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights when it formed in 1956, a remarkable number of them have been at least partially achieved. The buses are desegregated, and so are the parks with the shameful exception of the closed swimming pools. School segregation has been broken, even though integration is still token. Public eating places are integrated if one can afford to eat in them; Negro police have been hired, although in token numbers. At least a few Negroes are working in jobs never open to them before; the bars to Negro voter registration have been torn down.

And, all important, white police cannot with impunity terrorize and brutalize Negroes on the streets and in their homes as they once could and did in Birmingham.

But no one here feels that the struggle is over or that the perfect society has arrived. The integration that exists is still token, for the great masses of black people jobs are still nonexistent or at the lowest rungs of the economic ladder. And the old and dilapidated houses along the streets of Birmingham’s inner city stand as a reminder that this city has slum ghettos as depressed as any in the South or the nation.

In short, the Birmingham movement stands before the problem that the movement faces everywhere: the fact that our society simply has not found the way to provide great numbers of its citizens with a chance for a decent life. . . .”