Local attorney Fred Gray continues to make strides in civil rights history in 2021
Legendary local attorney, Fred Gray, has spent his career at the forefront of civil rights cases that have helped changed the world. During 2021, he found himself still leading the charge.
The iconic civil rights attorney whose client list has included Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks and Claudette Colvin, is still practicing law at 91 years of age.
“I made a commitment at an early age to become a lawyer and try to change things,” Gray said.
2021 was a year of achievements for the attorney, working to fulfill his goal of ridding the country of any racial barriers.
“The struggle for equal justice is not over. For us to just talk about the past is not enough.”
This year, his name replaced the name of Confederate President Jefferson Davis on a street sign near his childhood home in Montgomery. The motion being backed by the City of Montgomery, despite a violation of state law and a fine from the State of Alabama Attorney General’s Office.
Also, after almost 70 years, there was justice for one of Gray’s former clients, Claudette Colvin, who refused to give up her seat on a Montgomery bus for a white woman back when the buses were segregated. In December, her record was expunged.
“Claudette Colvin was the first one of those type of cases that I represented, and I was very happy to represent her. She played a very important role in it (civil rights history).”
Gray has continued his work to fight for civil rights throughout his whole career; fighting for voting rights, rights to education, freedom to march peacefully and more. This year was no exception, and it is also not the end. The attorney says there is more work to be done.
“As long as I live, and I am able, I will continue to struggle until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”
Many are wishing to honor Gray for the work he has done. Representative Terri Sewell took to the U.S. House Floor at the beginning of December with hopes to urge President Biden to award Gray with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Gray says whether he is given the medal or not, he feels honored enough by the changes he has seen in our country over his lifetime.