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Fred D. Gray  

Veteran Civil Rights Attorney; Represented Rosa Parks & Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Fred D. Gray is one of the nation’s leading civil rights attorneys. At the age of twenty-four, he was the legal counsel for Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Jr., and the Montgomery Bus Boycott. He represented the Freedom Riders, the Selma-to-Montgomery Marchers, and the Tuskegee Syphilis Study participants. He also won countless school desegregation and voting rights lawsuits. His work has changed social fabric of America.

One of the first African Americans to serve in the Alabama Legislature since reconstruction, Gray was also the first African American elected as president of the Alabama State Bar Association in 2002. He served as the 43rd president of the National Bar Association and is a fellow of the American Bar Foundation, American College of Trial Lawyers and International Society of Barristers. Gray is the recipient of numerous awards including the Charles Hamilton Houston Medallion of Merit from the Washington Bar Association, Harvard University Law School’s Charles Hamilton Houston Medallion; the American Bar Association’s Thurgood Marshall Award and the Federal Bar Association’s Sarah T. Hughes Civil Rights Award.

In June 2012, Lipscomb University awarded Gray an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters during a gala event as part of the 32nd annual Thomas H. Olbricht Christian Scholars’ Conference. Four years later in 2016, Lipscomb announced that they would rename its Institute for Law, Justice & Society in his honor. The Fred D. Gray Institute for Law, Justice & Society at Lipscomb University recognizes Gray’s stated lifelong commitment to “eradicate racism” through the law. Launched in spring 2007, the Institute, housed in Lipscomb’s College of Leadership & Public Service, is based on the principle that legal change is one of the surest means to effect social change. Students are encouraged to consider America’s legal system from a multidisciplinary perspective to get a fuller understanding of its mechanisms, practice, and consequences.

In 2022, Attorney Gray received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor.

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