Press Releases

Washington, D.C. – This week, Rep. Terri Sewell (AL-07) sent a letter to President Joe Biden requesting that Attorney Fred D. Gray, Sr be awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his extraordinary contributions as a lawyer in the Civil Rights Movement and a six decade long legal career dedicated to fighting against injustice and transforming our democracy. 

“As a Black lawyer and as Alabama’s first Black Congresswoman, I am a direct beneficiary of Attorney Fred Gray’s lifelong work in the fight for justice, inclusion and equity for all. His litigation in groundbreaking cases like Browder v. Gayle can be seen as not only directly responsible for integrating institutions in Alabama, but all across America,” said Rep. Terri Sewell. “An iconic figure and pioneer of the Civil Rights Movement, I can think of few people more deserving of the Presidential Medal of Freedom than Attorney Fred Gray. It is my hope President Joe Biden will award Attorney Gray this prestigious honor to recognize him as a true American patriot and for the historic contributions he made to the betterment of our democracy.”

Brief Biography of Attorney Fred D. Gray, Sr

Born in Montgomery, Alabama on December 14th, 1930, Attorney Gray has had an exemplary sixty-five year career as a civil rights lawyer defending Rosa Parks, Dr. Martin Luther King, and the Montgomery Bus Boycott; and securing an injunction for the marchers from Selma-to-Montgomery and fighting against injustice wherever it existed. 

The contributions he made to dismantle Jim Crow segregation laws while serving as the first African-American in the Alabama State Legislature since reconstruction, as well as the President of the National Bar Association and the first African American President of the Alabama State Bar Association, distinguish Attorney Gray as the most consequential lawyer of the Civil Rights Movement. In 2017, he joined the ranks of South African political and civil rights leader Nelson Mandela, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, and humanitarian Mother Teresa in receiving a Lifetime Service Award from HOPE International, a worldwide humanitarian and relief organization. 

Over his ninety years, Attorney Gray’s bravery and dedication to transforming the lives of others through our judicial system has been a true testament to the American values of justice, inclusion, and equality for all.

A copy of Rep. Sewell’s letter to President Joe Biden can be found here