Fred Shuttlesworth, co-founder of the Southern Christian Leadership Committee, died yesterday, 5th October. He was Bull Connors’ nemesis in Alabama and an inspiration for both his contemporaries (Martin Luther King, for one). If you didn’t know this, it’s because Steve Jobs died the same day, and except for NPR, most of the news media have been covering his accomplishments all over the news, as if he were a messiah.
Don’t get me wrong; I have no issues with Steve Jobs. He was a brilliant mind, and his anti-establishment ideas about technology made him a true maverick in the computer world. Not like “gotch’ya, ‘real’ American, ‘lame-stream media, see-Russia-from-my-house” maverick, I mean a true rebel, but with a clue. Jobs was canned by his own company, but he STILL kept going, buying Pixar, re-envisioning media access to the world, and striking fear into the hearts of formulaic, establishment corporations that thought their standard would be the ONLY standard for the world. I’m sure that many Apple products have been used the many revolutions of this year in the Mid East, and probably in Iran, Russia, China and other governments to convey the thoughts of those who still don’t have the luxury of being able to speak their minds without lethal repercussions. He took this itty-bitty world by storm, and he was JUST getting warm…ßYes, I just said that. However, let’s be honest with ourselves, near the end, Jobs, the rebel without a DOS, slowly became against what he rebelled. The once-open source App Store has been getting locked down more and more as time has passed. There is a following that eat up EVERYTHING he said, did, or promoted as if it were gospel, even if they had inherent flaws. Remember the antenna problems with the first iPhone 4? Apple wouldn’t even admit there was a problem, and then put out a laughable video about how others’ phones have a flaw too. Many of the consumers of Apple products nearly worship the man, and are as creepy as every other religious zealot. Should you dare say anything contrary to what is said in the Book of Jobs to a Machead, and you’re bound to get the glare only afforded to a heretic, or a woman who knows math in the 1600’s, or a woman who knows math in Mississippi, for that matter. After a while, people started going to Android as a rebellion against Mac. Steve Jobs became the machine against which he was raging.
Fred Shuttlesworth, on the other hand, needs to get his due credit. He scared the s*** out of Bull Connor, to the point that even MLK, Jr said that Fred was the most dangerous man in the South. If you don’t know who Bull Connor is, then get the f*** off my blog, go back to school, and read a book. If ever there was a personification of bigotry in America, it was Bull Connor. Hank Williams could have compared Connor to Hitler and been on point…of course knowing him, he probably would have sided with him. Shuttlesworth was the heart and soul of the Birmingham Movement. His rhetoric was even more mobilising than Martin Luther King’s, as it appealed the younger generation as they realised that the system needed to change. He stared down Klan members as they were throwing very valid threats at him to leave town. His church was bombed. His house was burned down. He faced mobs that hated everything for which he stood. He and his advocates faced fire hoses, angry dogs, and who-knows-what in jail. Through it all, he stayed resilient. Before Malcom X, Shuttlesworth was the Magneto to MLK’s Professor X. Even after the height of the Civil Rights Movement, Shuttlesworth became a strong advocate for the poor. He didn’t stop going, even in failing health.
As of this post, all the news outlets seemed to have done a Jim Henson on Shuttlesworth though, so you won’t hear too much about his accomplishments. I don’t think this is a “brown people are less important” thing, though. It’s not like it was a pretty white girl that got kidnapped. I’m certain it’s because the “news”, left, right, and center, are really part of Starf***ers, Inc. The popular, not the most important, gets the most airplay. Sure, Steve jobs was an innovator, but Fred Shuttlesworth was a f***ing American hero. I would likely not be here writing this were it not for him. Rest in peace to both.