February 16, 2006

Civil rights pioneer Fred Gray to speak at Case's MLK Celebration February 27

Gray was attorney for Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks; sought justice on several high-profile cases

Fred Gray Sr.

A man who sought justice on behalf of both Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks is the keynote speaker for Case Western Reserve University's 2006 Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Program on Monday, February 27 beginning at noon at the Amasa Stone Chapel, 10940 Euclid Avenue.

Fred Gray Sr., a Case alumnus and emeritus trustee, will speak at the free, public event, which will pay tribute to both King and his wife, Coretta Scott King, who passed away January 30.

"Using his great skills, grace, and courage, Fred Gray distinguished himself over the decades as a quiet hero in the civil rights movement," said Case President Edward M. Hundert, M.D. "We are thrilled and honored to welcome him back to campus for the university's celebration of Dr. King's legacy."

Gray was King's first civil rights lawyer, and his career includes notable civil rights-related cases. He represented Parks, who refused to give up her seat to a white man on a segregated city bus in Montgomery, Ala. The action led to the Montgomery Bus Boycott, and resulted in city buses being integrated in 1956.

A 1954 alumnus of Case's School of Law, Gray has said in the past he had a strong determination and made a secret commitment in college "to become a lawyer, return to Alabama, and destroy everything segregated I could find."

He worked on the lawsuit that sought compensation for African American men who were unknowing participants in the Tuskegee Syphilis Study. In addition, his case involving a class action suit brought by African Americans against then-Governor Wallace and the State of Alabama resulted in the court ordering the governor and the state to protect marchers as they walked from Selma to Montgomery, Ala. to present grievances as a result of being unable to vote. Publicity surrounding the events helped lead to the enactment of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Immediately following the MLK program, there will be a reception and book signing in the Adelbert Hall Atrium across from the chapel. Gray's books, Bus Ride to Justice and The Tuskegee Syphilis Study: The Real Story and Beyond will be available for purchase.

For more information, please visit the Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Web site or contact the University's Equal Opportunity and Diversity office at (216) 368-8877.

Posted by: Heidi Cool, February 16, 2006 11:39 AM | News Topics: Events, Lectures/Speakers, Public Policy/Politics, School of Law

Case Western Reserve University is committed to the free exchange of ideas, reasoned debate and intellectual dialogue. Speakers and scholars with a diversity of opinions and perspectives are invited to the campus to provide the community with important points of view, some of which may be deemed controversial. The views and opinions of those invited to speak on the campus do not necessarily reflect the views of the university administration or any other segment of the university community.