Tuskegee, Ala. – The Alabama State Bar on Wednesday, June 16, 2021, presented Attorney Fred David Gray with an official resolution honoring his life, legacy and legal career, adopted by the 75-member Alabama State Bar Board of Bar Commissioners.
Alabama State Bar President Bob Methvin presented the framed resolution at the Tuskegee History Center. Members of Gray’s family and Tuskegee community leaders joined Alabama State Bar officers and staff for the ceremony and press conference.
“I am proud to be here on behalf of the Alabama State Bar, the Board of Bar Commissioners and our 18,000+ members. Mr. Gray’s courage and conviction inspire all of us every day,” said President Methvin, as he handed the framed resolutions to Mr. Gray. “Fred Gray became a lawyer because he understood that lawyers help people. For over sixty years, he has made this country a better place by following through on his commitment to destroy everything segregated that he could find.”
Attendees gave Mr. Gray a standing ovation as he stepped up to the podium to receive the resolution.
“Thank you to the Alabama State Bar for this recognition. It is with deep humility that I accept this award on behalf of all those unknown heroes and clients whose names never appear in print and whose faces never appear on television. Those are the persons who laid the foundations so that you may honor me here today. I pledge to you that I will keep fighting for equal justice under the law,” said Mr. Gray.
At the press conference, President Methvin also announced plans to break ground on the Fred David Gray Courtyard adjacent to the Alabama State Bar building on Dexter Avenue in downtown Montgomery. The courtyard will feature the Bar’s motto, “Lawyers Render Service,” which was inspired by Gray’s theme during his year as Alabama State Bar President in 2002-2003. That theme was later adopted by the Board of Bar Commissioners as the official motto of the organization. Construction on the courtyard is expected to begin in 2022.
“The creation of the Fred David Gray courtyard adjacent to the Alabama State Bar building is humbling. To come from the west side of Montgomery, living on an unpaved street with no running water and very little electricity, now to have a garden on Dexter Avenue less than two blocks from the Capitol has a real special meaning to me,” added Gray.
A framed copy of the resolution will also remain at the Alabama State Bar Building inside the conference room that will one day open up the Fred David Gray Courtyard.
The resolution wording is as follows:
Honoring the Legacy and Career of
Fred David Gray
WHEREAS, Fred David Gray was born in Montgomery, Alabama, on December 14, 1930, and he received a Bachelor of Science degree from Alabama State College for Negroes (now Alabama State University) in 1951, and a Bachelor of Laws degree from Case Western Reserve University in 1954; and
WHEREAS, Fred David Gray was admitted to the Alabama State Bar on September 7, 1954, and has practiced law from offices in Montgomery and Tuskegee since that time; and
WHEREAS, Fred David Gray has devoted his life and legal career to ending all forms of racial discrimination and segregation and, to that end, he represented Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks, Claudette Colvin, and many others, and was instrumental in civil rights causes including the Montgomery Bus Boycott, public school integration, voting rights for African-Americans, and the Tuskegee syphilis study; and
WHEREAS, Fred David Gray has been recognized for his service as recipient of numerous honors and awards, including the Southern Christian Leadership Conference’s Drum Major Award (1980); Case Western Reserve University School of Law Fletcher Reed Andrews Graduate of the Year (1985), Society of Benchers (1986), and Law School Centennial Medal (1993); the American Bar Association’s Spirit of Excellence Award (1996); the Minority Caucus of the Association of Trial Lawyers of America Soaring Eagles Award (2003); Harvard University Law School’s Charles Hamilton Houston Medallion (2004); the American Bar Association’s Thurgood Marshall Award (2004); induction into the Alabama Academy of Honor (2005); the American Association for Justice Leonard E. Weinglass in Defense of Civil Liberties Award (2009); the National Bar Association Vince Monroe Townsend, Jr. Legends Award (2009); and the City of Montgomery Gifts of Giants Award (2013); and
WHEREAS, Fred David Gray, as President of the Alabama State Bar, championed the theme– Lawyers Render Service – which he has consistently epitomized for his entire career and which was subsequently adopted as the official motto of the Alabama State Bar.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Board of Commissioners of the Alabama State Bar, this day assembled, pays its highest respect and expresses its deepest gratitude to Fred David Gray, a true American hero who stood up for what he believed in despite the potential peril to himself and his family.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Board of Commissioners of the Alabama State Bar wishes to permanently honor Fred David Gray, for his steadfast humanity and exceptional service to the Alabama State Bar, with the creation of the Fred David Gray Courtyard adjacent to the Alabama State Bar building.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that Fred David Gray and his family be presented a copy of this resolution and that it be spread upon the permanent minutes of the Alabama State Bar.
WHEREAS, Fred David Gray served in the Alabama House of Representatives from 1970-1974 as one of the first two African-Americans elected to the Alabama legislature since Reconstruction, and as the 43rd President of the National Bar Association from 1985-1986; and
WHEREAS, Fred David Gray was the first African-American elected as president of the Alabama State Bar, and he served honorably as the 127th President of the Alabama State Bar from 2002-2003; and
DONE this the 19th day of March 2021.
Robert G. Methvin, Jr.
Alabama State Bar
The Alabama State Bar (ASB) is the official licensing and regulatory organization of lawyers in Alabama. Created in 1879, the Alabama State Bar became an integrated bar in 1923 by an act of the legislature. Since then, ASB programs and activities have continuously served the public and improved the justice system. It is dedicated to promoting the professional responsibility and competence of its members, improving the administration of justice and increasing the public understanding of and respect for the law.
Director of Communications, Alabama State Bar
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