Montgomery in Montgomery County, Alabama — The American South (East South Central)
Fred David Gray
Civil Rights Attorney and Legislator / Advocate for Victims and History
Born in 1930 in Montgomery, Gray was among the foremost civil rights attorneys of the 20th century. Forced by segregation to leave Alabama to attend law school, he vowed to return and "destroy everything segregated I could find." Over a six-decade career, his cases desegregated transportation, education. housing, law enforcement, public accommodations, and government. In the U.S. Supreme Court, Browder v. Gayle won the Montgomery Bus Boycott and Gomillion v. Lightfoot ended gerrymandering of Tuskegee and set the stage for "one man, one vote." Lee v. Macon desegregated all Alabama public elementary and secondary schools. Dixon v. Alabama extended the rights of college students. His clients included Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Jr., John Lewis, Vivian Malone, Harold Franklin, Freedom Riders, Selma-to-Montgomery marchers, and Tuskegee Syphilis Study victims. In 1970, he and Thomas Reed were the first African Americans since Reconstruction elected to the Alabama Legislature. In 2002, he was the first African American president of the Alabama Bar Association.
Gray represented the 623 victims of the infamous Tuskegee Syphilis Study, in which the U.S. Public Health Service experimented from 1932-1972 on the effects of untreated syphilis, using African American men from rural Macon County as unwitting research subjects. Available medical treatment was withheld from the men in the study. In 1975, Gray negotiated a settlement for the victims and their survivors. In 1997, President Bill Clinton apologized on behalf of the nation to survivors in a White House ceremony during which he called Gray "a great friend of freedom" and thanked him "for fighting this long battle all these long years." That same year Gray initiated – in honor of the victims and in memory of Bernice Hill Gray – the Tuskegee Human and Civil Rights Multicultural Center, a museum dedicated to the history of the Tuskegee Syphilis Study and to the roles of the Native, European and African American peoples who have lived in what is now Macon County, Alabama.
Erected 2015 by the Alabama Tourism Department and the Tuskegee History Center.
Location. 32° 22.647′ N, 86° 18.239′ W. Marker is in Montgomery, Alabama, in Montgomery Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 300 Dexter Avenue, Montgomery AL 36104, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Jonathan Coggswell Farley / Montgomery's First Election (within shouting distance of this marker); History of the Alabama State Bar (within shouting distance of this marker); Naval Heroes of the War of 1812 (within shouting distance of this marker); Lucien Dunbibben Gardner (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); James Edwin Livingston (about 300 feet away); Clement Clay "Bo" Torbert, Jr. (about 300 feet away); Howell Thomas Heflin (about 300 feet away); Ernest C. “Sonny” Hornsby (about 300 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Montgomery.
More about this marker. Although marker shows 2014 as date, the marker was erected in February 2015.
Also see . . .
1. Wikipedia article on Fred Gray. (Submitted on February 15, 2015, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.)
2. The Encyclopedia of Alabama biography on Fred Gray. (Submitted on February 15, 2015, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.)
Categories. • African Americans • Civil Rights • Politics •
More. Search the internet for Fred David Gray.
Credits. This page was last revised on March 11, 2017. This page originally submitted on February 15, 2015, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama. This page has been viewed 435 times since then and 24 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. submitted on February 15, 2015, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.