Speakers at Rev. Shuttlesworth's funeral relate his struggles to - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Speakers at Rev. Shuttlesworth's funeral relate his struggles to the immigration changes

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BIRMINGHAM - AL -

 

Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth's greatest moments, struggles, and achievements were shared at his funeral Monday, but a controversial issue became the focal point of many speeches.

Throughout Monday's service, the struggles Rev. Shuttlesworth faced and the adversity he overcame define how he is being remembered. his life's work revolved around eliminating segregation - a fight that several of the speakers related to the state's tough immigration law.

"Those were difficult days, those were dangerous days," Juanita Abernathy, Civil Rights Leader said.

Those difficult days of the civil rights movement paved the way to ending segregation in Alabama - something some speakers said exists today in a different form.

"If you want to honor Fred Shuttlesworth, stand up for brown sisters and brothers and say no to segregation," Rev. Raphael Warnock, Ebeneezer Baptist Church said. "If segregation was wrong in the 60's and 70's, segregation is wrong right now."

"We must find courage for our time - to stand against the oppressions of our time - to stand with the oppressed of our time - while making no exceptions in who we work with just to gain favor with the powerful few.  Don't you think Fred would like that?" Scott Douglas, Greater Birmingham Ministries said during the service.

At last night's  ceremony, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder stated, while we can be proud of the steps the country has taken towards equality, it's time to recommit to the struggles that defined Shuttlesworth's life.

"In this state, too many are willing to turn their backs on our immigrant past. By the way, we're not going to let that happen in the United States government," U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said.

"It's ironic that Shuttlesworth is now beloved, the Governor is speaking at his funeral, but we're still doing the same things over and over again," Diane McWhorter, Pulitzer Prize winning author said.

Today, we spoke with the Alabama Republican Party. Their response was:

"Alabama lost a great man with the passing of Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth. His dedication to equality and justice for the citizens of our state has left a legacy to be revered. Political grandstanding is not an appropriate way to honor Rev. Shuttlesworth's memory.  Instead, I offer my sincere condolences to his loved ones on behalf of the Alabama Republican Party."