Welcome once again, readers, to “Church of Christ Celebrities”! If you’re enjoying the blog, please like and share this post, and pass the word along to your friends. As always, comments and suggestions are encouraged and can be submitted on Facebook or via the Contact page.
Today’s entry takes us into the history of the civil rights movement as we examine the religious affiliation of eminent attorney and activist Fred Gray (1930-). Gray, a native of Montgomery, Alabama, graduated from law school in Ohio before returning to Alabama to establish a legal practice and work with the NAACP. Gray was closely involved with many notable court cases, including lawsuits related to the infamous Tuskegee syphilis experiment (1) and Rosa Parks’s refusal to relinquish her bus seat. (2) He also served as part of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s defense team in a 1960 case. (3)
Gray’s storied legal career has resulted in a number of professional honors, and he served as the first black president of the Alabama Bar Association and as a trustee of Case Western Reserve University. (4) Clearly, his professional life is exemplary–but of course, we have to ask as well: what about his religious life?
(“Gray with Adam Clayton Powell Jr.,” courtesy of http://www.encyclopediaofalabama.org/article/m-4938 .)
As it turns out, Gray has been every bit as involved with Churches of Christ as he has been with the civil rights movement. Growing up, Gray’s immediate family was part of the Holt Street congregation in Montgomery. Prior to attending law school, he was a student at the now-defunct Nashville Christian Institute, which was affiliated with Churches of Christ during its existence. (5) Gray preached for the Newtown Church of Christ in Montgomery from 1957 to 1973, (6) and after he moved to Tuskegee, he was instrumental in merging that city’s white and black congregations in 1974. (7) He was also interviewed in 2008 by the Christian Chronicle, a Churches of Christ periodical, about his life of activism and ministry. (8) Based on the above documentation, then it’s safe to say that the link between the subject du jour and Churches of Christ is CONFIRMED quite easily.
Our last three entries, including this one, have all dealt with politics in some form or fashion. Since I “know best” (that’s a hint right there) we’ll be mixing it up a little bit next time as we move over to the worlds of television and entertainment for what will undoubtedly be our most high-brow entry to date here at “Church of Christ Celebrities.” Keep your eyes peeled!
(1) For more information on the experiment itself, see “The Tuskegee Timeline,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, August 30, 2017, accessed November 18, 2017, https://www.cdc.gov/tuskegee/timeline.htm .
(2) “Fred Gray,” Biography, July 7, 2014, accessed November 18, 2017, https://www.biography.com/people/fred-gray-21308983 .
(3) Barclay Key, “Fred Gray,” Encyclopedia of Alabama, April 12, 2013, accessed November 18, 2017, http://www.encyclopediaofalabama.org/article/h-1510 . Blog readers with connections to Mars Hill Bible School might be interested to know that the author of this article is the son of Dewayne Key.
(4) Bill Lubinger, “Dialogue: A Legal Legend,” Think, accessed November 18, 2017, http://case.edu/think/fall2014/fred-gray.html .
(5) Barclay Key, “Fred Gray,” Encyclopedia of Alabama, April 12, 2013, accessed November 18, 2017, http://www.encyclopediaofalabama.org/article/h-1510 .
(6) “Fred Gray,” Biography, July 7, 2014, accessed November 18, 2017, https://www.biography.com/people/fred-gray-21308983 .
(7) Barclay Key, “Fred Gray,” Encyclopedia of Alabama, April 12, 2013, accessed November 18, 2017, http://www.encyclopediaofalabama.org/article/h-1510 .
(8) Lynn McMillon, “A Conversation with Fred Gray,” The Christian Chronicle, February 1, 2008, accessed November 18, 2017, https://christianchronicle.org/a-conversation-with-fred-gray/ .