Birmingham civil rights leader reflects on life, legacy of Martin Luther King

Local News

BIRMINGHAM, Ala.(WIAT) — Celebrations in remembrance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day have begun in Alabama and nationwide.

Many people remember King for the legacy he left on the Civil Rights era, but only a select few had the privilege of working directly alongside him. Bishop Calvin Woods Sr. of Shiloh Baptist Church marched alongside King in Birmingham in 1963 and said he played a pivotal role in advancing the desegregation movement underway in Birmingham that was led by Fred Shuttlesworth at the time.

King had been successful in many other racial movements, so Birmingham activists called on him to come to Birmingham to help them. His arrival worked to renew their efforts fighting against injustice in what was known as the most segregated city in the nation at the time.

“But under the leadership and with Dr. King more children were inspired to participate and over 3000 young people in this city marched against segregation and injustice went to jail,” Woods said.

Woods prides himself on being able to file a lawsuit on behalf of all students who were put in jail fighting for the cause in Birmingham so they could return back to school in 1963. He added that many feared this effort he made taking legal action for the movement, but was asked by his fellow civil rights activists.

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