Established by the BCRI Board of Directors in 2002, the Annual Fred L. Shuttlesworth Human Rights Award serves as a tribute to the leadership and courage of the Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth throughout the course of the U.S. Civil Rights Movement. This annual award is an opportunity for the Institute to recognize individuals for their service to civil and human rights causes around the world. It is the highest honor bestowed on an individual by the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute.

Recipients of the Shuttlesworth award must embody the principles that guided the American Civil Rights Movement and have characterized the life of Fred L. Shuttlesworth:

  • A philosophy of non-violence and reconciliation
  • Courage, both moral and physical, in the face of great odds
  • Humility
  • Leadership by example
  • An established commitment to human-rights activities

Rev. Shuttlesworth was the inaugural recipient of the award. Actor and humanitarian Danny Glover received the award in 2003; Dr. John Hope Franklin in 2004; Congressman John Lewis in 2005; Dorothy Cotton in 2006; Fred Gray in 2007, Joseph Ellwanger in 2008 and Rev. Joseph Lowery in 2009; Congressman James Clyburn in 2010, Journalist and Author Charlayne Hunter-Gault in 2011; Legal Activist and Founder of the Equal Justice Initiative Bryan Stevenson in 2012 and Ambassador Andrew Young in 2013; Dr. C.T. Vivian in 2014 and Attorney Vernon E. Jordan, Jr. in 2015 and Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton in 2016.



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