Civil Rights

Arthur D. Shores

Arthur D. Shores was an influential African American civil rights attorney based in Birmingham, Alabama. He was born on July 15, 1904, in Birmingham, and he became one of the most prominent lawyers in the state during the Civil Rights Movement. Shores attended Talladega College and later received his law degree from Boston University. After returning to Birmingham, he began practicing law and quickly established himself as a dedicated advocate for civil rights. He fought against racial discrimination and segregation in various legal battles throughout his career.

Autherine Lucy leaves a crowded Federal Court hearing for lunch recess, carrying a Bible. Accompanying her are Thurgood Marshall, attorney Arthur Shores, Mrs. Constance Motley (right), and Mrs. Ruby Hurley, NAACP executive secretary. Miss Lucy’s reinstatement was ordered by the court, but she was later expelled from the University on other charges. 2/29/1956-Birmingham, AL

One of Shores’ notable cases was his representation of Autherine Lucy, who became the first African American student to be admitted to the University of Alabama in 1956. However, due to violent opposition, Lucy was suspended after just three days on campus. Shores took up her case and fought for her right to education, though it would take several more years before the university desegregated.

He also represented other clients facing racial injustice and discrimination, often facing threats and intimidation for his work. Despite the risks, Shores remained dedicated to his cause, challenging segregation laws and advocating for equal rights.

Fred Gray left, and Arthur D. Shores, center, defense attorneys in the racial bus boycott trial, talk with Rep. Charles Diggs, D-Mich., right, on the steps of the Montgomery, Ala. County Courthouse on the first day of the trial, March 19, 1955. Diggs said he was an”observer.” Ninety-three African-Americans went on trial on charges of violating the state’s anti-boycott law. The grand jury returned 11 indictments against the group on Feb. 21.

Throughout his life, Arthur D. Shores played a crucial role in advancing civil rights and equality in Alabama and beyond. His legal expertise and unwavering commitment to justice made him a prominent figure in the struggle for civil rights during a tumultuous period in American history. Shores passed away on April 3, 1996, leaving behind a legacy of courage and determination in the fight for equality and justice.

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