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Arthur D. Shores
*Arthur D. Shores was born on this date in 1904. He was a Black attorney and civil rights activist.
Arthur Davis Shores was born in Wenonah, in Jefferson County, Alabama. His parents were Richard and Pauline Shores, and he was the oldest of nine children. Shores had a middle-class upbringing and was fortunate to attend a segregated high school run by Tennessee Coal, Iron and Railroad Company for the children of its employees, which was vastly superior to the schools that most Black children attended. Shores attended the school until the seventh grade, when school officials discovered that his father was not employed by TCI, but instead worked as a building contractor. Because there were no other high schools in Jefferson County that accepted Black students, Shores gave a fictitious address and registered at Industrial High School within the city of Birmingham and graduated in 1922.
Shores graduated from Talladega College where he became a member of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity. He attended only one year of law school at the University of Kansas and then pursued his law studies through the correspondence school La Salle Extension University. Shores passed the Alabama State Bar exam in 1937 and immediately began using his legal skills to support civil rights issues. In 1938, Shores successfully sued on behalf of seven schoolteachers who denied the right to vote by the Alabama Board of Registrars.
Shores was general counsel for the International Association of Railway Employees (IARE). In 1941 he took on the case of Steele v. Louisville & N. R. Co. in which B. W. Steele, a member of the IARE executive, argued that an agreement between the railway and the Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen and Enginemen was illegal. A whites-only railroad union could not exclude Blacks and then deny them better jobs because they were not union members. He worked on this case with attorney Charles H. Houston, who argued it successfully in front of the Supreme Court of the United States in 1944.
Shores represented Black teachers in the Jefferson County School Board to receive the same pay as white teachers. In 1955, Shores successfully argued before the U.S. Supreme Court in Lucy v. Adams to prevent the University of Alabama from denying admission solely based on race or color. Autherine Lucy became the first Black to attend the school when she was admitted in 1956. On the third day of classes, a hostile mob assembled to prevent Lucy from attending classes. The police were called to secure her admission but, that evening, the University suspended Lucy on the grounds that it could not provide a safe environment.
Shores' campaign in 1963 to integrate the Birmingham public schools brought violence to him and other residents. Shore's home was fire-bombed on August 20 and September 4 in retaliation for Black parents registering their children at white schools. Eleven days later a bomb killed four girls at 16th Street Baptist Church. He argued before the Supreme court in the same year that the arrests of peaceful demonstrators in Birmingham should be ruled unconstitutional. During the 1960s, he became the first Black member of the Birmingham City Council. In 1977, the NAACP honored Shores by awarding him the William Robert Ming Advocacy Award for the spirit of financial and personal sacrifice displayed in his legal work. Arthur D Shores died in December 1996 at his home in Birmingham, Alabama. He was 92.