Fred Gray probably had the best seat in the house the day Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat to a white man.
Gray had lunch with Mrs. Parks that day in December 1955 when the seamstress would take the action that would help spark the civil rights movement.
"There was nothing really unusual about it (that day) other than we talked about various matters," Gray said.
"We talked about the bus situation since Claudette Colvin's case. We talked about how segregated things were and how conditions would change. We knew the lay of the land and she knew I was going to be out of town for a while that afternoon, but would be back that evening."
Gray goes on to say the event happened "shortly after 5:00. She was off work about 5:00 and immediately got on the bus and proceeded to go home as she had gone many times."
When Gray got back to Montgomery, he had a call from Mrs. Parks.
"I had a call from Mrs. Parks and, of course, immediately she asked me to come over to her house. I went over and talked to her about the case," he recalled.
"She told me she wanted me to represent her. She told me that the hearing would be the following Monday. We discussed in detail some details about the case. I left her house and went to E.D. Nixon's house. We talked about some things that needed to be done. We left his house and went to JoAnne Robinson's and we talked about what needed to happen for the next three or four hours... the rest is history."
"I'm going to miss her very much as a friend, as a client. But the contributions she made will last forever."
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At the church that played a pivotal role in the emergence of Dr. Martin Luther King as a national leader of the civil rights movement, friends and government officials celebrated the life of Mrs. Rosa Parks.More >>
Fred Gray probably had the best seat in the house the day Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat to a white man. Gray had lunch with Mrs. Parks that day in December 1955 when the seamstress would take the action that would help spark the civil rights movement.More >>