Alabama civil rights attorney to receive ACU's honorary doctor of laws degree at December commencement


For Immediate Release
Nov. 23, 1999

Fred D. Gray of Montgomery, Ala., will receive an honorary doctor of laws degree from Abilene Christian University Dec. 10 at 7:30 p.m. at winter commencement exercises in Moody Coliseum.

Gray is a well-known civil rights attorney who has represented American icons such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks. He currently serves as senior partner in the law firm of Gray, Langford, Sapp, McGowan, Gray and & Nathanson in Tuskegee, Ala.

After the conferring of Gray's honorary degree, he will deliver a charge to the graduating seniors. Twenty-four students will receive master's degrees, and 245 will receive undergraduate degrees.

Gray's legal career spans 40 years. Described as "enthusiastic and energetic," Gray began his civil rights career in 1954 when he was only out of law school for one year. That same year he represented Rosa Parks who was arrested because she refused to give up her seat on a bus to a white man, which ignited the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Gray was also Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s first civil rights attorney.

In October of this year, Gray became a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, which recognizes excellence in trial lawyers in the United States and Canada.

Gray also served as the 43rd president of the National Bar Association in 1985-86 and initiated the NBA Hall of Fame where he was inducted in 1995.

He is a life member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). He also serves as a member of the Board of Trustees of Case Western Reserve University, Southwestern Christian College and Faulkner University. He is a Fellow of the American Bar Association.

Gray released Bus Ride to Justice in 1995 and The Tuskegee Syphilis Study in 1998. He also wrote The Sullivan Case: A Direct Product of the Civil Rights Movement, a review for Case Western Reserve Law Review.

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Last update: Dec. 6, 1999
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