Birmingham civil rights foot soldier, barber dies

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) - Birmingham barber and civil rights foot soldier James Armstrong has died. He was 86. Armstrong died Wednesday. The Birmingham News first reported Armstrong's death on its Web site. Armstrong had a long history of involvement in the civil rights movement. He carried the American flag at the head of the 1965 Selma-to-Montgomery Voting Rights march and in 1957 initiated a class action lawsuit to integrate Birmingham schools after trying to enroll his two sons in the then all-white Graymont Elementary School. He cut hair at Armstrong Barbershop in downtown Birmingham for more than 50 years. One of his clients was civil right leader Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

Armstrong was a board member and volunteer at the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute. (Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)