Co-founder, with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, who helped highlight the discrimination against blacks in Birmingham, Alabama.
After the U.S. Supreme Court struck down segregated busing in Montgomery Alabama, he organized a campaign to end the practice in his city as well.
He is one among the names honored at the International Civil Rights Walk of Fame at the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site in Atlanta.
He had four children with his wife, Ruby Keeler Shuttlesworth.
He was awarded Presidential Citizens Medal by President Bill Clinton, and was a guest of honor at Barack Obama's inauguration.