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Black and White: The Confrontation of Reverend Fred L. Shuttlesworth and Eugene ''Bull'' Connor

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Overview


In the nineteen fifties and early sixties, Birmingham, Alabama, became known as Bombingham. At the center of this violent time in the fight for civil rights, and standing at opposite ends, were Reverend Fred L. Shuttlesworth and Eugene "Bull" Connor. From his pulpit, Shuttlesworth agitated for racial equality, while Commissioner Connor fought for the status quo. Relying on court documents, police and FBI reports, newspapers, interviews, and photographs, author Larry Dane Brimner first covers each man's life and ...
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Overview


In the nineteen fifties and early sixties, Birmingham, Alabama, became known as Bombingham. At the center of this violent time in the fight for civil rights, and standing at opposite ends, were Reverend Fred L. Shuttlesworth and Eugene "Bull" Connor. From his pulpit, Shuttlesworth agitated for racial equality, while Commissioner Connor fought for the status quo. Relying on court documents, police and FBI reports, newspapers, interviews, and photographs, author Larry Dane Brimner first covers each man's life and then brings them together to show how their confrontation brought about significant change to the southern city. The author worked closely with Birmingham's Civil Rights Institute as well as with Reverend Fred L. Shuttlesworth and his wife to bring together this Robert F. Sibert Honor Book, ALA Notable Children\u2019s book, and Kirkus Reviews Best Children\u2019s Book of the Year.

A 2012 Sibert Medal Honor Book

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Lois Rubin Gross
Students normally associate Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks with the Civil Rights movement, but know little of Reverend Fred Shuttleworth, a Birmingham, Alabama minister, who stood shoulder to shoulder with the greats in the fight to attain equality for African Americans in the 1950s and 1960s. On the opposite side was "Bull" Connors, a strict segregationist who turned water cannons and attack dogs on young protestors in the streets of the city. The contrast between the two opponents is represented in the handsome black, white and red format of the large-sized book. The well-illustrated volume is filled with archival black and white photographs. As so often happens with these older pictures, the emotions on the faces seem much more harshly rendered than they would appear in color. Look particularly at the pictures of staunch children and young teens sent in to confront white fire fighters and policemen, and you will see a study in pain and conviction. The smiles on firemen's faces as they blast protestors with powerful water sprays are sickening. In his narrative, author Brimner pulls few punches describing the castration of a young black man by the Ku Klux Klan and the beating of Freedom Riders, black and white protestors from the north, as they were burned out of busses and beaten on orders from Connors. This is a particularly ugly chapter in American history, and one that Brimner describes unsparingly for modern audiences who may not understand the full sacrifice of African Americans (called "Negroes" consistently in the book to reflect the vernacular of the times). Brimner depicts Shuttleworth as a practitioner of King's passive resistance, but he was actually a more provocative figure than King; and Connors as an old-school "red neck" segregationist determined to maintain the status quo. The book contains copious end notes and bibliographies, but no internet links. Reviewer: Lois Rubin Gross
Children's Literature - Lois Rubin Gross
Students normally associate Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks with the Civil Rights movement, but few have heard of Reverend Fred Shuttleworth. A Birmingham, Alabama minister, Shuttleworth stood shoulder to shoulder with the greats in the fight to attain equality for African Americans in the 1950s and 1960s. On the opposite side was "Bull" Connors, a strict segregationist who turned water cannons and attack dogs on young protestors in the streets of the city. The contrast between the two opponents is represented in the handsome black, white and red format of the large-sized book. The well-illustrated volume is filled with archival black and white photographs. As so often happens with these older pictures, the emotions on the faces seem much more harshly rendered than they would appear in color. Look particularly at the pictures of staunch children and young teens sent in to confront white fire fighters and policemen, and you will see a study in pain and conviction. The smiles on firemen's faces as they blast protestors with powerful water sprays are sickening. In his narrative, author Brimner pulls few punches describing the castration of a young black man by the Ku Klux Klan and the beating of Freedom Riders, black and white protestors from the north, as they were burned out of busses and beaten on orders from Connors. This is a particularly ugly chapter in American history, and one that Brimner describes unsparingly for modern audiences who may not understand the full sacrifice of African Americans (called "Negroes" consistently in the book to reflect the vernacular of the times). Brimner depicts Shuttleworth as a practitioner of King's passive resistance, but he was actually a more provocative figure than King; and Connors as an old-school "red neck" segregationist determined to maintain the status quo. The book contains copious end notes and bibliographies, but no Internet links. Reviewer: Lois Rubin Gross
School Library Journal
Gr 6 Up—The relative fame of Martin Luther King, Jr., and Rosa Parks tends to obscure other primary, important players in the Civil Rights Movement. One of these was the Reverend Fred L. Shuttlesworth, a Baptist minister who served churches in Alabama from the late 1940s to the early 1960s. Committed to his belief in the equality of all people before God, he was the driving force in bringing about the integration of Birmingham; and in this endeavor, he had help from a most unexpected source. Eugene "Bull" Connor was the Birmingham Commissioner of Public Safety and strong proponent of the city's segregation ordinances. His enforcement techniques were legendary: dogs, fire hoses, brutality. Klan supported and driven by a set of beliefs as strong as, but counter to, Shuttlesworth's, Connor was in large part responsible for turning the tide of public opinion in favor of civil-rights progress. In this highly pictorial book, Brimner limns the characters of both men and the ways in which their belief systems and personalities interacted to eliminate segregation from the Birmingham statutes. Black-and-white pages and red sidebars containing supporting information on topics such as the murder of Emmet Till and Autherine Lucy's attempt to integrate the University of Alabama make this a visually arresting book. The writing style is lively and informative. A brief bibliography, excellent source notes, and a sound index round out this volume, which can stand alongside Russell Freedman's Freedom Walkers (Holiday House, 2006) and Brimner's own Birmingham Sunday (Calkins Creek, 2010) as fine examples of both civil-rights history and photo-biographies.—Ann Welton, Helen B. Stafford Elementary, Tacoma, WA
Kirkus Reviews
A fascinating look at one of the most crucial places and periods in the civil rights movement through two polar opposites. Reverend Fred L. Shuttlesworth, an African-American minister, was committed to ending segregation in Birmingham, Ala., and Eugene "Bull" Connor was just as determined to see it maintained. Shuttlesworth was drawn to preaching and teaching as a young man, and his fiery personality led him to seek change in his community. His agitation for the hiring of black police officers outraged "Bull" Connor, Commissioner for Public Safety, who was determined to "…put the Negro in his place, something he liked to brag about knowing how to do." Brimner captures the intense and often violent struggle between the forces for change and those seeking to keep the status quo in a city known as "Bombingham." He carefully explores the realities both men faced and does not shy away from depicting their complex personalities. The author is also clear about his point of view. While he admires Shuttlesworth, he understands the importance of Connor's role. "Without this staunch racist and his harsh response to the African American cry for justice, civil rights progress might have taken an even longer time in coming." A clean, graphically interesting design abets a well-researched, engaging narrative that contributes a more nuanced view of the period than is often seen. (author's note, further reading, source notes, index) (Nonfiction. 12 & up)
Abby McGanney Nolan
A handsome introduction to an ugly time…
—The Washington Post
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781590787663
  • Publisher: Highlights Press
  • Publication date: 11/1/2011
  • Pages: 80
  • Sales rank: 684,675
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Lexile: 1150L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 9.10 (w) x 10.10 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author


Larry Dane Brimner is the award-winning author of two other civil rights titles: We Are One: The Story of Bayard Rustin (Jane Addams Book Award and the Norman A. Sugarman Children's Biography Award) and Birmingham Sunday, (2011 NCTE Orbis Pictus Honor Book and the Teacher's Choice Award.) He lives in Tucson, Arizona.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 5 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 23, 2014

    The March on Birmingham evokes images of Dr. Martin Luther King

    The March on Birmingham evokes images of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. leading thousands of people through the streets of a 1960's Birmingham, Alabama. Huge dogs barely contained by the law enforcement officials to whom they are entrusted. Fire hoses drawn, aimed, and shot—firing torrents of throbbing, rushing water into the crowd hurtling protesters several feet through the air, and chaos run amuck. Seldom, if ever, does Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth spring to mind. Though I grew up in the birthplace of the Civil Rights Movement, Montgomery, Alabama, before reading Black & White, I had never heard of Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth. Like many of you, I depended on the public school system to teach me all I needed to know of the the Civil Rights Movement and its leaders. However, had it not been for Fred Shuttlesworth, desegregation in Birmingham may have been months or even years away.

    Raised in a home without running water or electricity, the notion of becoming a preacher struck Fred, the oldest of nine children, at an early age. After graduating near the top of his class, Fred began working with a group of doctors sterilizing needles. There he would meet his wife, Ruby. After moving his family to Mobile, Alabama, for better job opportunities, Fred joined Corinthian Baptist Church and soon began subbing for the pastor during his absence. Believing that he would impact multiple lives, Fred sought formal biblical training, earned a teaching degree, as well as, obtained a pastorate. Never one to be tolerant of inaction, Fred espoused a holistic philosophy blending an individual's spiritual needs with responsible citizenship, forming an inseparable mixture permanently severing all ties of either entity operating independent of the other.

    Unlike Fred, Eugene "Bull" Connor, devoted himself to maintaining the prevailing social norms that had been dictating southern culture for generations. He possessed no qualms in resorting to volatile actions to put an end to the political agitation for racial equality. Frustrated by Fred's mission to upend Birmingham's social order, Bull vowed to stop Fred at all cost. Refusing to yield or even acknowledge the city's civil unrest was his undoing.

    Black & White offers short biographies of both Fred Shuttlesworth and Bull Connor, then details the events leading to the culmination of the March on Birmingham and ultimately, city-wide desegregation. Black & White is a must-have for home, classroom, school, and public libraries. 4.5/5 Stars

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  • Posted November 26, 2012

    This is a great read for students in upper grade levels. I enjoy

    This is a great read for students in upper grade levels. I enjoyed this book because it shows students that associate civil rights movement with Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks, but to see that there are others who were involved in seeking equality throughout America.

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  • Posted November 25, 2012

    I believe this book should be definitely recommended for upper

    I believe this book should be definitely recommended for upper grade schools. In my opinion this book was very interesting and informative. I think it was neat how the story went from telling facts from history to telling about the story of the Reverend and what his role was in the fight for black rights. one good thing about it was that it has an abundant of pictures which will keep the reader entertained, yet absorbing the reader with very interesting information.

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  • Posted November 24, 2012

    I thought this was a good book and there were good illustrations

    I thought this was a good book and there were good illustrations as well. This book could be a good book to read in a classroom of like 4-5th graders because it will show the background and lesson of inequality and the racial issue in the world before and now. I like that the characters in this book are real people and the author worked with them while writing the book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 9, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

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