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PEOPLE YOU SHOULD KNOW: Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth & Professor Derrick A. Bell Jr.

Yesterday, two very influential leaders in the African American community whom you should be familiar with passed away.  Come inside and find out about the impact both Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth & Professor Derrick A. Bell Jr. had on history.

 

Derrick A. Bell, Jr., (Nov. 6, 1930 - Oct. 5, 2011)

Professor Derrick A. Bell, Jr. was the first-tenured African American professor of Law at Harvard University and is credited with founding Critical Race Theory. 

In an obituary published by the NY Times, it said,

Mr. Bell was the first tenured black professor at Harvard Law School and later the first black dean of a law school that is not historically black. But he was perhaps better known for resigning from prestigious jobs than for accepting them.

In his 20s, while working at the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department, he was told to give up his membership in the N.A.A.C.P., which his superiors believed posed a conflict of interest. Instead, he quit the Justice Department, ignoring the advice of friends to try to change things from within.

Thirty years later, when he left Harvard Law School, he rejected similar advice. At the time, he said, his wife, Jewel Hairston Bell, asked him, “Why does it always have to be you?”

In “Ethical Ambition,” a memoir published in 2002, Mr. Bell wrote that his wife’s question trailed him afterward, as did another posed by his colleagues: “Who do you think you are?”

Addressing law students grappling with career decisions, he extolled what he called “a life of meaning and worth,” even though, he wrote, he sometimes alienated associates who saw his actions as “futile and foolish.”

 

One of Mr. Bell's most interesting opinions is that he once said he thinks black Americans are more subjugated now than at any time since slavery. He added, he thinks desegregation might have worked out better if the court had instead ordered governments to provide both races with truly equivalent schools.  Hmm....something to think about.

 

Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth, (March 18, 1922 – October 5, 2011)

Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth (whom some refer to as Dr. Martin Luther King's right hand man) was also know as the last of the civil rights movement's "Big Three," joining Dr. King and Ralph David Abernathy. The three founded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in 1957.

But unlike Dr. King, Rev. Shuttlesworth was known for his more confrontational strategies. Speaking about Rev. Shuttlesworth, Diane McWhorter, who wrote the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for nonfiction for Carry Me Home, said,

"Shuttlesworth and King were the two major axes of the SCLC part of the movement.  Shuttlesworth was in the vanguard of direct action, pushing towards confrontation. King was the person who could really deal with white people and was more conciliatory. The two of them together formed a dialectic that drove the movement forward."

And his body paid a price for it.  Rev. Shuttlesworth claims to have been bombed twice, beaten into unconsciousness and jailed more than 35 times! 

Both are remembered as remarkable men as we enjoy the benefits of their time and labor (freedom and equality...or what's close to it). 

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Two great men! Thanks for

Two great men! Thanks for posting
kibus's picture

I am just checking YBF after

I am just checking YBF after a few days. I am so happy to see you recognize these two men. I had the pleasure to learn from Professor Bell and have been mourning his loss with fellow students. The legal community has suffered a great loss but his legacy lives on in those who learned from him and take up the cause.
Come Off It's picture

Thank You sooo much for

Thank You sooo much for posting this unfortunate news. I want people to realize that there are so many african Americans who have paved the way for us African Americans today, and not just the few who are in mainstream books. I hope this sparks some curiosity in people to read and think critically.
Anonymous's picture

Thank you for this post

Thank you for this post Tasha! It's a shame these great men didn't get the coverage they deserve. That's why I ♥ The YBF!
PinkTea08's picture

This was indeed a great post

This was indeed a great post and what was even greater to me was how many people appreciated it. On the other posts there is so much hate and judgement but not here. I'm happy about that! Thanks again for the post YBF....
Stopitalready's picture

I'm so glad you posted this!

I'm so glad you posted this! Kudos to you for being well informed and sharing this piece with everyone.
Shawna's picture

MORE POST LIKE THIS

MORE POST LIKE THIS PLEASE!...I HAVE MUCH RESPECT AND APPRECIATION FOR ALL THOSE WHO CAME BEFORE ME TO MAKE LIFE EASIER FOR ME!
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Anonymous's picture

Excellent Post. Thank you,

Excellent Post. Thank you, Rev Fred and Professor Derrick for your hard work and fight. May your gentle soul rest in peace.
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Anrye's picture

May they rest in peace. I am

May they rest in peace. I am grateful for people like these who have paved the way for all people of color!
Anonymous's picture

I based a lot of my graduate

I based a lot of my graduate school research on CRT ---this story touches home.
Anonymous's picture

great post YBF!!

great post YBF!!
MissNovember's picture

Thank you for posting this

Thank you for posting this story about these two great men. We need more uplifting stories like this.
leonard mckelvey's picture

Thank you (((so))) much for

Thank you (((so))) much for posting YBF. While it's sad we lost Steve Jobs as well yesterday...THE BLACK COMMUNITY NEEDS TO know this!!! Because the mainstream news media won't inform us... THANK YOU.
Dana's picture

Good Post, they both did

Good Post, they both did amazing things. R.I.P Mr. Fred and Mr.Derrick....
Brina's picture

GREAT POST! I learned

GREAT POST! I learned something new from it. THANK YOU and RIP Fred & Derrick!
who_cares_what_you_think's picture

Great post! RIP to both of

Great post! RIP to both of these great men
Anonymous's picture

I was going to say the same

I was going to say the same thing- Great post!
Anonymous's picture

Thanks for posting this!

Thanks for posting this! Fabulous indeed. freedom.
Anonymous's picture

May these two wonderful souls

May these two wonderful souls rest in peace. I enjoy reading positive, educated news on African Americans who are not in the entertainment/music industry. I would love to find a blog site dedicated to debates and discussions on topics that's relevant to our society and communities. Does anyone know of any site with such content? I would love to visit it sometimes.
Anonymous's picture

What a great post. Lovely men

What a great post. Lovely men RIP
medschoolmelanie's picture

It saddens me that the

It saddens me that the persons who fought or played pivotal roles in history are dying. These days, people are only out for themselves. It's not about unity anymore.
Shy's picture

wow! i had no idea. im

wow! i had no idea. im grateful that these gentleman made such an impact in the african american community. they didnt have to but at the end it was their personal choice to make a BIG difference
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Anonymous's picture

This is by FAR, the best

This is by FAR, the best posting I have ever seen on this site! Thank you, and let's not forgot those who are NOT in the spotlight who paved the way for us as well. Last year, I just visited the Birmingham Alabama Civils Right Museum and Reverand Shuttlesworth statue is in front of the building. RIP to two great men!
Anonymous's picture

Two more very important

Two more very important public figures who deserve recognition and who younger African Americans should know about. Rev. Shuttlesworth was a good friend of our family. Dr. Derrick Bell's work was epic. His insight on race was unique and eye-opening. May they both RIP.
Anonymous's picture

thanks for remembering what

thanks for remembering what so many forgot.... thanks for posting this
Yardiii's picture

These great men were pioneers

These great men were pioneers and leaders! They used courage and intelligence to defeat systems and showed the way towards modern society. They changed the world as we know it for the better, and forever! Will always be indebted..
soshi's picture

great celebration of life,

great celebration of life, thank you for acknowledging their wonderful achievements
yes's picture

wow..never heard of these 2

wow..never heard of these 2 men but they were powerful men nonetheless...but sadly the world was talking about Steve Jobs which is sad too...but these 2 men never came up on CNN yesterday from what i remember....
tdubz's picture

simply-thank you for this

simply-thank you for this post!!!!!!!!!
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Anonymous's picture

Sadly this generation is

Sadly this generation is losing it's foundation.
Anonymous's picture

I have my B.A in Polictiacl

I have my B.A in Polictiacl Science and trust.....Derrick Bell open my eyes when i was introduced to his book..."Faces at the Bottom of the Well" .....Excellent Excellent Book...very very very good....please take the time and go read it....
flawless1's picture

Faces at the Bottom of the

Faces at the Bottom of the Well was a CLASSIC and indeed made you really think about "what if." HBO turned it into a mini-series back in the 90s.
Anonymous's picture

Thank you for posting this

Thank you for posting this information....I would love to see more of this on tyour site not just in death
Anonymous's picture

Thank you for this

Thank you for this recognition ...I wish we could more of this on this site not just in death
Anonymous's picture

need more men and women like

need more men and women like them...we are losing our leaders
Anonymous's picture

Thank You Tasha for doing a

Thank You Tasha for doing a post on both of these remarkable men. R.I.P Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth and Professor. Derrick A Bell.
80'sBaby's picture

They don't make them like

They don't make them like that anymore. Such an awesome example of encouragement and success. Thanks Natasha for posting this!
Anonymous's picture

My cousin is the CNA that has

My cousin is the CNA that has been taking care of hime all these years.He was a remarkable man.You would have never know he was here in little old Birmingham Alabama...She told me she was so blessed to care for such an extrodinaty man....RIP
LOVEISPOWER's picture

May God rest their souls.

May God rest their souls. Thank you for a maverlous glimpse of history. God bless.
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Anonymous's picture

Prof. Bell asked a question

Prof. Bell asked a question critical to individual growth in black culture in my opinion "Who do you think you are?" or as a more acceptable a pop culture reference you can even ask "Who gon check me boo?" I feel like asking yourself these questions from time to time humbles you and puts things into perspective...
Anonymous's picture

Thanks for this post Tasha.

Thanks for this post Tasha. What a breath of fresh air to read something of substance! Please continue to educate. Education is cool and fabulous too!:)
Anonymous's picture

Please continue to give some

Please continue to give some of us postive progressive ppl who read this site more of this. There is enough foolery for the negative regressive.
Anonymous's picture

I DONT POST COMMENTS BUT THIS

I DONT POST COMMENTS BUT THIS IS A WORTHY TOPIC AND IT WAS WELL APPRECIATED. THANKYOU AND PLEASE CONTINUE TO ENLIGTEN THE TYBFF (THE YOUNG BLACK & FABULOUS FANS) ABOUT THESE EXTRAORDINARY BLACK LEADERS.
Anonymous's picture

I DONT POST COMMENTS BUT THIS

I DONT POST COMMENTS BUT THIS IS A WORTHY TOPIC AND IT WAS WELL APPRECIATED. THANKYOU AND PLEASE CONTINUE TO ENLIGTEN THE TYBFF (THE YOUNG BLACK & FABULOUS FANS) ABOUT THESE EXTRAORDINARY BLACK LEADERS.
Anonymous's picture

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