Tuesday, April 27, 2004
Civil Rights Attorney to Speak At Pepperdine Graduation
By a MetNews Staff Writer
Alabama civil rights lawyer and activist Fred D. Gray will deliver the keynote address Saturday at the commencement ceremony for Pepperdine’s Seaver College, the school announced yesterday.
Gray, a senior partner with Gray, Langford, Sapp, McGowan, Gray & Nathanson, based in Tuskegee and Montgomery, is the immediate past president of the Alabama Bar Association and was honored for his civil rights work in 1996 by the American Bar Association. He represented Rosa Parks in 1955 in litigation challenging segregated seating on public buses in Montgomery.
He was the first black president of the Alabama Bar Association. In honoring him in the inaugural year of its Spirit of Excellence Awards, the American Bar Association noted he brought cases to open the door for redistricting and reapportionment legislation, to protect the right of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People to do business in Alabama, to reinstate students expelled from Alabama State College, to require the State of Alabama to protect marchers walking from Selma to Montgomery in pursuit of the right to vote, and to remedy systemic exclusion of blacks from civil juries in Alabama.
His representation of Parks came less than a year after he graduated from law school. He also represented Martin Luther King Jr.
Gray also served in the Alabama state Legislature from 1970 to 1974.
A native of Montgomery, Gray was educated at the Nashville Christian Institute in Nashville, Tenn., Alabama State University in Montgomery, and Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio.
Copyright 2004, Metropolitan News Company