Fred Gray, Esq., the attorney who represented Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Rosa Parks during the Montgomery Bus Boycott, and who also represented victims in the infamous Tuskegee Syphilis Study in 1972, will be the keynote speaker for the MLK, Jr., Observance Day Association’s annual MLK Freedom Gala. The black-tie event will be held on Saturday, March 31, 2018, at the Hyatt Regency Savannah beginning with a cocktail hour at 6 pm and dinner and program at 7pm. The evening will be capped with music and dancing. Tickets are $75.
Attorney Gray’s legal career spans more than 60 years. Out of law school less than a year, Gray began a dynamic civil rights career in 1954. His first civil rights case was representation of Claudette Colvin, a 15-yearold African American high school student who refused to give up her seat on a city bus in Montgomery, AL, in March 1955. In December 1955 he represented Rosa Parks who was arrested because she refused to give up her seat on a bus to a white man, igniting the Montgomery Bus Boycott. He was Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s first civil rights attorney. “We are delighted to have such a dynamic and accomplished speaker who can bring historical context to the role that Dr. King and others played in the Civil Rights Movement,” said Carolyn Blackshear, president of the MLK Association. “We believe Attorney Gray’s presentation will align with our mission to enlighten the community about Dr. King.”
The list of civil rights cases that Gray has won can be found in most constitutional law textbooks. They include: Browder v. Gayle, the case that integrated Montgomery City buses in 1956; Gomillion v. Lightfoot decided in 1960, the landmark case that opened the door for redistricting and reapportioning legislative bodies across the nation laying the foundation for the concept “one man, one vote;” Williams v. Wallace, decided in 1965, a class action suit brought by African Americans against Alabama Gov. George Wallace and the state, and resulted in the order that protected marchers as they walked from Selma to Montgomery to present grievances as a result of being unable to vote. The publicity of these actions led to the enactment of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
In 1970-1974, Gray was one of the first African Americans to serve in the Alabama Legislature since reconstruction.
Currently serving as the senior managing shareholder in the law firm of Gray, Langford, Sapp, McGowan, Gray, Gray & Nathanson P.C., with offices in Montgomery and Tuskegee,
Gray continues to serve clients.
A graduate of Case Western Reserve Law School, the university named Gray as the Fletcher Reed Andrews Graduate of the Year in 1985. In 1996, the American Bar Association bestowed Gray with its “Spirit of Excellence Award,” which celebrates the achievements of lawyers of color and their contributions to the legal profession.
Gray is a graduate of Alabama State University, and he is a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity and Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity.
Tickets can be purchased at the MLK, Jr., Observance Day Association’s office, 1206 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Savannah, or online at www.mlkingsavannah.com./