Jeff Davis Ave. In Montgomery To Be Renamed After Civil Rights Attorney Fred Gray
The Montgomery City Council voted on October 5 to rename Jefferson Davis Avenue for civil rights attorney Fred Gray.
Gray, who is now 90, still practices law in Tuskegee but grew up on the street during the Jim Crow era and went on to represent Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks. In a unanimous vote by the city council, his name will now take Jefferson Davis’s place.
Under state law, the renaming could prompt a $25,000 fine for the city. However, Mayor Steven Reed said there are multiple people willing to donate money in the city’s name.
“This is part of correcting the record, and this will not be something that will end with Fred Gray avenue,” Reed said. “I think that we will see more discussions and more action taken to make sure that Montgomery’s rich history around civil rights and progress in this nation is recognized not just in ways symbolic but systemic. We’re going to continue to push for that.”
Mayor Reed said the next step in this project is to plan a formal ceremony where Jefferson Davis’s name will come down, and Fred Gray’s will go up. He also added that this is sparking conversations with city council about names of other streets and monuments that should be reconsidered.