Historic Bethel Baptist Church Historic Bethel Baptist Church

A National Historic Landmark and Museum

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Historic Bethel Baptist Church What happened on December 25, 1956?

December 25, 1956, The Bethel Baptist Church Parsonage Was Destroyed By A Terrorist Bomb.

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Historic Bethel Baptist Church Historic Bethel Baptist Church

A National Historic Landmark and Museum

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HISTORY

Located in the working-class neighborhood of Collegeville in Birmingham, Alabama, two amazing examples of perseverance and tenacity stand, Historic Bethel Baptist Church and Parsonage.

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Bethel Baptist Church is listed as a National Historic Landmark, a National Treasure and part of the Birmingham Civil Rights Monument.

PHOTOS

View photos of Historic Bethel Baptist Church, a National Historic Landmark and Museum.

This Far By Faith

The Man | The Movement | Accomplishments

Rev. Fred Lee Shuttlesworth

by Andrew Manis, Macon State College

African American Baptist pastor and the central leader of the civil rights movement in Birmingham, Fred Lee Shuttlesworth (1922–2011) was one of the pioneering figures in the civil rights era. The organization he founded in 1956, the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights (ACMHR), joined with Martin Luther King Jr.’s Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) to protest segregation in Birmingham in 1963. Partly as a result of those direct-action demonstrations, the U.S. Congress passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Born in Montgomery County on March 18, 1922, Shuttlesworth was raised near Birmingham in rural Oxmoor, Jefferson County. Brought up by his tough-minded mother, Alberta Robinson Shuttlesworth Webb, Shuttlesworth developed a combative personality that prepared him for civil rights leadership in Alabama. During World War II, he worked as a truck driver at Brookley Air Force Base in Mobile, and then, after experiencing what he believed to be a ministerial calling, Shuttlesworth enrolled in the now-defunct Cedar Grove Bible College in Mobile and later in Selma University, both Baptist institutions. He eventually graduated from Alabama State College in 1952 and became the pastor of Selma’s First Baptist Church. Personality clashes with deacons led to his ouster, however, and in early 1953 he took over as pastor of the Bethel Baptist Church in north Birmingham.

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Voices of Alabama

Explore the stories of 20 sites of worship, lodging, and civic engagement in Birmingham, Montgomery, and across the Black Belt that played significant roles in the African-American struggle for freedom—from Reconstruction to the Civil Rights Movement and beyond.

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Thomas Wilder
and the Family at
Historic Bethel Baptist Church
Welcome You!

Hello and welcome to the Historic Bethel Baptist Church of Collegeville. Bethel Baptist Church is listed as a National Historic Landmark, a National Treasure and part of the Birmingham Civil Rights Monument. Having been bombed three time in 1956, 1958 and 1962, Bethel stands as a testament of the power of God to protect those who seek to do His will.

Pastored by Reverend Fred L. Shuttlesworth, the church served as the headquarters of the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights and heloed to lead the movement that led to the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The Alabama African American Civil Rights Heritage Sites Consortium, Inc. is a collaboration among 20 historic places of worship, lodging and civic engagement that played significant roles in the African American struggle for freedom. While recent history focuses on the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s, these institutions have been dedicated to improving the quality of Black life since Reconstruction.

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