Montgomery street renamed for civil rights attorney Fred Gray

Published: Oct. 26, 2021 at 6:51 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Longtime civil rights attorney Fred Gray can add another accolade to his prominent career. Gray now has a street named after him, and it all took place Tuesday morning in west Montgomery.

West Jeff Davis Avenue is now known as West Fred D. Gray Avenue. This is the very neighborhood Gray grew up in. The fertile soil laid the groundwork that pushed Gray to confront racism.

Gray, 90,, represented clients such as Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks in a long, storied legal career that’s spanned more than 60 years.

“Attorney Gray, your life is a shining example to all of us of what is possible when you pursue a purpose-driven destiny,” said Alabama State University President Quinton Ross.

“And that’s why we’re here to honor him,” said Montgomery Mayor Steven Reed.

King once called Fred Gray “chief counsel for the protest movement. Today, 61 years later, that “chief counsel” has his own avenue, paved with historic court victories in civil rights.

“I then humbly accept this recognition, not on behalf of all these clients that I’ve represented, on behalf of all those unknown heroes and clients whose names never appear in print, media, whose faces never appear on television. These are the persons that laid the foundation so that you may honor me here today,” said Gray.

City leaders say the name change took a little longer than expected because of an outdated method to rename city streets.

The Alabama State University marching band also took part in the sign change ceremony by trumpeting the national anthem along with the university’s concert choir, which sang the Black national hymn arranged by Roland Carter.

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