Why Biden should recognize 'the legal engine of the civil rights movement' — before it's too late

You know about Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, and Selma. Now it's time to learn Fred D. Gray's name.

Fred Gray.
(Image credit: Illustrated | AP Images, Getty Images, iStock)

He served as Martin Luther King Jr.'s first civil rights attorney. He defended Rosa Parks and Claudette Colvin after they refused to give up their seats on Montgomery city buses to white passengers. He filed a lawsuit on behalf of John Lewis the day after Bloody Sunday, which allowed protesters asking for voting rights to peacefully cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge during a march from Selma to Montgomery. He represented subjects of the Tuskegee Syphilis Study in a class-action lawsuit, securing a $10 million settlement and medical treatment for the survivors.

His name is Fred D. Gray, and a movement is now underway to honor him with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the country's highest civilian honor.

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