By choosing Birmingham, Alabama, as the site of SCLC’s next major campaign, King deliberately confronted segregation in its heartland. Fiery preacher Fred Shuttlesworth, who led the Southern steel town’s SCLC affiliate, the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights (ACMHR), said bluntly that Birmingham was “very close to hell itself,” and he was well placed to judge (Carter 1995: 116). On Christmas night 1956, a bomb blast that literally blew the mattress out from under him, in his words, “blew him into history.” Bombers attacked his church, Bethel Baptist, in a working-class district of Birmingham, three times between 1956 and 1963. When he attempted to enroll his daughters Pat and Ricky at the all-white Phillips High School in September 1957, a mob attacked him and his family with baseball bats and bicycle chains. Earlier that month, Klansmen castrated a local black man as a warning of what they would do to African American children if school desegregation proceeded. They also abducted Shuttlesworth’s ACMHR associate, Reverend Charles Billups, tied him to a tree, and whipped and branded him, and all while he prayed for his persecutors (McWhorter 2001: 114-15, 124-28, 153-54). Like the Mississippi of murdered teenager Emmett Till, Birmingham’s dreadful reputation gave it a special significance.