Bus Ride to Justice: Legendary Civil Rights Attorney Fred Gray

February 21, 6:00 PM
University of South Carolina Law School
1525 Senate St. Columbia, SC 29208

On Thursday, February 21, the UofSC Center for Civil Rights History and Research, the UofSC School of Law, South Carolina Humanities, and Columbia SC 63: Our Story Matters will host a lecture by acclaimed civil rights attorney Fred Gray of Tuskegee, Alabama.

Mr. Gray has had a distinguished career advocating for civil rights. He filed suits on behalf of clients to desegregate public spaces and schools, to expand voting rights and to seek justice for those harmed by discrimination. He represented Rosa Parks and Claudette Colvin after they were charged with disturbing the peace for refusing to give up their seats on Montgomery buses. During the resulting the Montgomery Bus Boycott, Mr. Gray worked with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., representing the Montgomery Improvement Association. After Bloody Sunday in 1965, Mr. Gray represented activists who participated in the famous march from Selma to Montgomery. Mr. Gray also represented plaintiffs harmed by the Tuskegee Syphilis Study in a class action lawsuit. These are just a few of the many cases Mr. Gray filed to protect and expand rights for African Americans. Later in his career, Mr. Gray served as a representative in the Alabama legislature and as the first African American president of the Alabama Bar Association.

Mr. Gray is visiting Columbia as part of programming associated with Justice For All, a new exhibit that explores South Carolina’s role in the Civil Rights Movement. The exhibit is on display in the Ernest F. Hollings Special Collections Library until August 2, 2019. History professor Dr. Bobby Donaldson, who directs the Civil Rights Center, is excited about Gray’s visit. He remarked: “As we launch Justice For All, we are fortunate to welcome Fred Gray, one of the architects of the Civil Rights Movement, to the University of South Carolina and to Columbia. In some of the pivotal moments of the Black Freedom Struggle, Mr. Gray was at the table strategizing and defending clients who sought justice and equality. With over six decades of legal experience, he has much to teach us about the individuals and organizations who transformed our nation.”

Fred Gray will speak at 6pm at the University of South Carolina School of Law. He will speak specifically about the role attorneys played in the Civil Rights Movement. A reception and book signing will follow. Mr. Gray’s book Bus Ride to Justice: The Life and Works of Fred Gray will be available for purchase.

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