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Civil rights attorney Fred Gray visits Case Western Reserve University to discuss career pursuing racial justice

Gray graduated from the law school back in 1954.
Credit: AP
Fred Gray looks on during the Fred D. Gray Avenue dedication ceremony, Tuesday, Oct. 26, 2021, in Montgomery, Ala. The civil-rights attorney was honored with his name on the road previously know as W. Jeff Davis Ave. (AP Photo/Vasha Hunt)

CLEVELAND — Case Western Reserve University welcomed a very special guest on Friday. 

Fred Gray, a man who has made a career as a prominent civil rights attorney, preacher and activist, returned to the Case Western University School of Law to speak about the pursuit of racial justice throughout his career. Gray graduated from the law school back in 1954.

Gray’s career saw him represent numerous high-profile clients, including Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks. He is still practicing law in Alabama, where he served as a member of the Alabama House of Representatives from 1971-until 2015, Case reports.

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Throughout his career, Gray has successfully litigated four major civil rights cases, as highlighted by Case, in front of the United States Supreme Court. They were the cases of Gayle v. Browder (1956), NAACP v. Alabama ex rel. Patterson (1958), Gomillion v. Lightfoot (1960), and New York Times Co. v. Sullivan (1964).

Recently, Gray filed a lawsuit for the Macon County Commission due to the presence of confederate statues on public property inside the county. Earlier this week, the city of Montgomery changed the name of Jeff Davis Avenue, which was named in honor of the president of the Confederacy, Jefferson Davis, to Fred D. Gray Avenue.

Gray was born and raised in Montgomery, Alabama, but left home for Case Western Reserve when no in-state law school would accept any Black students.

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