Even if you previously purchased and read Bus Ride To Justice when it was published in 1995, it would be worth taking another look at a follow up to this book by Fred D. Gray, a prominent Alabama lawyer. The best-selling autobiography of one of the nation’s leading civil rights lawyers has recently been updated to include new information about Fred’s distinguished career and his reflections on the 1955 arrest of Mrs. Rosa Parks. That event sparked the Montgomery Bus Boycott and brought the eyes of the nation – and eventually the world – to focus on the issue of Civil Rights. The new volume also includes new photographs not found in the previous edition.
Fred, who describes his career goal as to “destroy everything segregated that I could find,” served as Mrs. Parks’ lawyer following her arrest when she defied Jim Crow segregation laws in refusing to give up her seat on a Montgomery city bus to a white passenger. In the book, he says that although Mrs. Parks is often portrayed as a demure seamstress in the wrong place at the wrong time, she was in fact a strong activist in the Civil Rights movement. Fred describes her willingness to be arrested and go to jail in order to challenge segregation laws.
Fred was just 24 years old and out of law school for less than a year when he took the case that would begin to change history. The Bus Boycott went on for 382 days and ended only when busses in Montgomery were integrated in December 1956. In addition to representing Mrs. Parks, Fred served as the lawyer for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Montgomery Improvement Association. This group organized the Montgomery Bus Boycott.
During the course of his career, Fred has handled cases involving desegregation, integration, and constitutional law, racial discrimination in voting, housing, education, jury service, farm subsidies, medicine and ethics. Fred served as the first African American president of the Alabama State Bar. I am proud to say that Fred Gray is a personal friend. He is truly a great American and had a definite role in bringing about badly needed changes in this country. He also was, and still is, a great lawyer. Few individuals can look back on a career as a lawyer and can say that they had such a tremendous influence on our country’s history.
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