RIP, Steve Jobs and Fred Shuttlesworth.

It’s been almost impossible to miss news about Steve Jobs’ death earlier this week.

From front page covers on major newspapers around the world to the remaking of the Apple logo to include his head as the bite to tributes from President Obama and fellow technology titans Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg to the seemingly endless comments on Facebook and other social media, Jobs’ life, death and final hours have been thoroughly chronicled

This is as it should be.

For more than 30 years, Jobs pushed and created and innovated, with the result being that our lives have been dramatically changed by the Macs, IPods, IPads and Pixar studios.

As David Carr wrote in The New York Times, Jobs also made technology, and covering technology, cool.

Jobs’ actions during the course of his life puts him on the short list of American innovators.

The Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth, who also died this week, is on a different short list-those civil rights leaders who showed relentless courage in working to help the nation be truer to its lofty ideals.

Along with Martin Luther King and Ralph Abernathy, Shuttlesworth made up the “Big Three” of the modern civil rights movement.

Yet Shuttlesworth, who was older than King, had a far different style than his more recognized colleague in the struggle, according to Diane McWhorter, author of a Pulitzer-prize winning book about Shuttlesworth:

Diane McWhorter, the author of “Carry Me Home,” the Pulitzer Prize-winning 2001 book about the struggle in Birmingham, wrote in an e-mail that Mr. Shuttlesworth was known among some civil rights activists as “the Wild Man from Birmingham.”

“Among the youthful ‘elders’ of the movement,” she added, “he was Martin Luther King’s most effective and insistent foil: blunt where King was soothing, driven where King was leisurely, and most important, confrontational where King was conciliatory — meaning, critically, that he was more upsetting than King in the eyes of the white public.”

Blunt and direct, Shuttlesworth put his body on the line time and time again in the struggle for justice, surviving at least two bombings of his house and more than 30 arrests.

He was the key local leader in Birmingham, which was site of some of the movement’s most memorable moments, and instrumental in the famed Selma campaign that many consider the high point of the effort to abolish legal segregation.

Both Jobs and Shuttlesworth refused to compromise in their quests in their various endeavors.

Both made the world better and different as a result.

Both will be missed.

 

 

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