Civil rights attorney, Arthur Shores has been called Alabama's 'drum major for justice.' His daughters, Helen Shores Lee and Barbara Shores, have written a book called The Gentle Giant of Dynamite Hill, detailing their father's work in the civil rights movement. Helen explains the inspiration for the title, "My father was always known for his kindness. He was always very humble and a very soft spoken, gentle man."
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"When he talked, people would listen." Barbara adds, "He was a great negotiator. He was one who could bring people together at a table and talk things out and work things out for them. So he was gentle, but yet he was a giant in my estimation."
Arthur Shores first made a name for himself in the 1950's when he took on a police brutality case and won. By the '60's he was Dr. Martin Luther King, junior's attorney in Alabama.
Thurgood Marshall, who later became the first African-American Supreme Court Justice, was a frequent visitor in the home. Barbara recalls, "We had a lot of people coming to the house that we'd never realize at that time, that we had a seat right at the first place in history of all the people who were coming through and the cases that he had."
In 1963 Shores represented Vivian Malone and David Hood in a court case against the University of Alabama. Barbara describes the situation, "That was when Wallace made his famous stand in the schoolhouse door and was asked to step aside. But because of the efforts and everything, they were enrolled at the University. And I think that was one of the high points of his career."
And along with these cases came threats against him and his family. Barbara shares about the unsettling times, "We would get the threatening phone calls and threatening letters. One thing that I remember my father always doing, he was a very spiritual man, and would always go in and pray."
Their neighborhood became known as Dynamite Hill. Barbara explains, "It got the name because there were zoning laws in the early 30's and 40's where blacks could only live on the east side of Center Street, and not the west side."
But for the blacks who tried to move into homes on the 'whites only' side of the street, Barbara says, "Usually before they got ready to move into the house, the house was either bombed or they wouldn't get a certificate of occupancy to move into the house after they spent money to build the home there."
Helen adds, "That happened to 50 or more houses in this area. So it got the name Dynamite Hill because the houses that were bombed were all in and around and straight up this hill."
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SOURCE: The 700 Club