Radiozine on 02/03/12
A Black History Special featuring Fred Gray, CIVIL RIGHTS ATTORNEY FOR ROSA PARKS AND MARTIN LUTHER KING
Produced by TUC Radio
When Fred Gray's friend Rosa Parks was arrested in 1955 for violating the segregated seating ordinance on a Montgomery bus, 26-year-old Martin Luther King, was chosen to lead the Montgomery Bus Boycott, and 24-year-old Fred Gray became his--and the movement's--lawyer. Gray's legal victory in the federal courts ended the boycott 381 days later.
In this program Fred Gray tells his story. He grew up in Montgomery, Alabama, and had to leave the state to finish his education because blacks could not then attend Alabama law schools. He returned to his hometown in 1954 and became one of two black lawyers in the city. His first case was that of the 15 year old Claudette Colvin. Nine months before Rosa Parks refused to relinquish her seat on the Montgomery bus, Claudette did the same. Fred Gray won scores of civil rights cases in education, voting rights, transportation, and health. He represented the Freedom Riders, the Selma-to-Montgomery marchers, and the victims of the Tuskegee Syphilis Study.
Recorded at the Republican Roundtable in San Francisco, July 2009. It was a Republican, Peter Buxtun, who blew the whistle on the Tuskegee study. Poor black sharecroppers were led to believe they were being treated, while in reality the study recorded the progression of untreated Syphilis. Buxtun is now the events coordinator for the Republican Roundtable, TUC Radio was there by invitation.
This is a rare recording of a man who remained in the background.
Without him the civil rights movement might have taken a different turn.