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TUESDAY, DECEMBER 19, 2006
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Birmingham remembers Christmas bombing

BIRMINGHAM (AP) — In a new building and with the mayor and hometown congressman on hand, Bethel Baptist Church commemorated the 50th anniversary of the racist bombing that targeted the Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth as he led the fight against the city's segregation laws.

No one was injured in the bombing of the black church on Christmas Day 1956. And Shuttlesworth told the anniversary crowd Sunday that the bombings, threats and beatings he received were just part of his job.

"I just had the unmitigated gall to challenge things," Shuttlesworth, 82, said.

Mayor Bernard Kincaid and U.S. Rep. Artur Davis, D-Birmingham, were among dozens of guests on hand for the commemoration at the church's new building just down the street from the original structure. Shuttlesworth, who retired earlier this year as pastor of a church in Cincinnati, led Bethel Baptist from 1953 through 1961, during which his church was bombed three times.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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