Unveiling the Forgotten Pioneer: Alabama Civil Rights Lawyer Arthur Davis Shores Finally Gets the Spotlight

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Black History Month serves as a moment to remember and learn about the untold stories of pioneers who have been overlooked. One such individual is Arthur Davis Shores, a civil rights lawyer from Alabama. Shores is the subject of a compelling documentary produced by Alabama Public Television, with narration by WBRC’s Steve Crocker.

The idea for the documentary took shape during a conversation between Shores’ daughter, Barbara, and Phillip Howard of the Conservation Fund, and Pete Conroy at the premiere of another acclaimed documentary about a legendary figure from Alabama. It was during this discussion that Howard suggested that a documentary should be made about Shores. Conroy, who is involved in strategic partnerships and special projects at Jacksonville State University, embraced the idea and brought it to fruition through Longleaf Studios.

“Defending Freedom – The Arthur D. Shores Story” showcases the enduring impact of Shores, who fought against segregation in Alabama and federal courtrooms starting in the late 1930s. Despite facing threats and attacks on his home and family, Shores persevered. The documentary features interviews with individuals who knew him intimately, including attorneys U.W. Clemon and J. Mason Davis, Birmingham’s first Black mayor Richard Arrington, and retired State District Court Judge Houston Brown, who grew up near the Shores family and responded to a bombing at their home.

Conroy describes the significance of the Shores’ family home, where much of the civil rights movement unfolded. Reflecting on his visit, Conroy shares a poignant moment where Barbara mentioned that Martin Luther King Jr. had used a particular glass for eggnog, and Thurgood Marshall had sat in a specific spot. These small details paint a vivid picture of the historic events that transpired within those walls.

Barbara Shores expresses her satisfaction with the Jacksonville State film, which involved several students in its production. She believes the documentary accurately captures her father’s courage, brilliance as an attorney, and his profound impact on the civil rights struggle. Despite being somewhat forgotten by the public, Shores has left a lasting legacy.

In conclusion, the documentary “Defending Freedom – The Arthur D. Shores Story” sheds light on the remarkable achievements and struggles faced by Arthur Davis Shores, a civil rights lawyer from Alabama. Through compelling interviews and personal anecdotes, the film honors Shores’ courageous fight against segregation and his lasting impact on the civil rights movement.