Civil rights leader the Rev. Shuttlesworth dies

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) -- Civil rights leader the Rev. Fred L. Shuttlesworth, who was hailed by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. for his courage and energy, has died. He was 89.

Princeton Baptist Medical Center spokeswoman Jennifer Dodd confirms he died at the Birmingham hospital Wednesday morning.

Shuttlesworth was bombed, beaten and repeatedly arrested in the fight for civil rights.

The former truck driver studied religion at night and became pastor of Bethel Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala., in 1953. Soon after he became an outspoken leader in the fight for racial equality.

King called Shuttlesworth "one of the nation's most courageous freedom fighters" in his 1963 book, "Why We Can't Wait."

He survived a 1956 bombing, an assault during a 1957 demonstration and countless arrests.