Item Details

Interview With Fred Gray

Elwood, William A; Kulish, Mykola
Online; Online Video; Video
2006; 1987-05-12
Part one. Footage of exteriors of houses (and William Elwood) until 8:55. Then civil rights attorney Fred Gray discusses Alabama lawyers, Arthur Shores, and becaming a lawyer in order to try civil rights cases. Gray had to go to law school outside of Alabama as African American schools in Alabama didn't offer what he wanted. He taught himself Alabama state law while in Ohio. Gray describes developing strategies for his civil rights cases. He also talks about the Montgomery bus boycott. Part two. Mr. Gray recalls his 1954 defense of an African American juvenile arrested on Montgomery bus (before the Rosa Parks arrest). Gray talked to Rosa the day before she was arrested and represented her in court. Mr. Gray remarks that Montgomery bus cases like Browder v. Gayle were the first major application of Brown's meaning. Gray describes the difficulty of registering African American voters because registrars would go missing, even after the courts ordered them to register African Americans. To avoid the impact of African American voters, Alabama redrew Tuskegee boundaries to include only white people. Mr. Gray explains Tuskegee gerrymandering and Gomillion v. Lightfoot. Part three. Mr. Gray goes over details of Gomillion v. Lightfoot, recalls how Tuskegee Institute was no longer within the city of Tuskegee because of the new boundaries. Mr. Gray discusses Lee v. Macon County Board of Education, a school discrimination case that managed to include all public schooling in Alabama. Gray explains how litigating the rights of students in order to end segregation also meant dealing with the rights of teachers. Although the Alabama African American teachers associations weren't part of the original suit, they joined the case. Part four. Mr. Gray acknowledges the Bicentennial of the Constitution in 1987, and he discusses how the Constitution was not written to include African Americans. It is the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments and various civil rights acts that make the Constitution a living document for African Americans. Gray talks about the Tuskegee Civic Association and gives a lot of credit to local banker Allan Parker. Mr. Gray also covers rehearsing the Gomillion case and the immediate result of Gomillion.
Elwood, William A
Kulish, Mykola
Gray, Fred D
Digitized by: Cincinnati, Ohio : The PPS Group, 2006.
Source footage for the documentary, The road to Brown : the untold story of “the man who killed Jim Crow” (California Newsreel, 1990), about the life of Charles Hamilton Houston, his crusade for civil rights, and the events that led to Brown v. the Board of Education, the 1954 Supreme Court decision that declared the doctrine of separate but equal to be illegal.
Title supplied by cataloger.
Recorded at Tuskegee, Alabama.
William A. Elwood Civil Rights Lawyers Project
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Road to Brown : the untold story of "the man who killed Jim Crow."
William A. Elwood Civil Rights Lawyers Project
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Part one of four.

Part two of four.

Part three of four.

Part four of four.