Sewell lends assist for Medal of Freedom for Fred Grey, urges Biden to honor civil rights lawyer

U.S. Representative Terri Sewell, D-Birmingham, urged President Biden to bestow the Medal of Honor on Alabama 90-year-old civil rights attorney Fred Gray, and called the personal attorney for Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, and other civil rights at era activists “a true American patriot.”

“As a black attorney and as Alabama’s first black congressman, I am a direct beneficiary of Attorney Fred Gray’s lifelong work in the fight for justice, inclusion and justice for all. His litigation in landmark cases like Browder v. Gayle can be seen as directly responsible for institutional integration not only in Alabama but across America, ”the Congresswoman wrote in a letter to Biden. “As an icon and civil rights pioneer, I can think of few people who deserve the President’s Medal of Freedom more than attorney Fred Gray. I hope President Joe Biden bestows this prestigious honor on Attorney Gray to recognize him as a true American patriot and for the historic contributions he has made to improving our democracy. “

Sewell’s letter comes a week after the Alabama State Bar sent a similar letter to Biden asking the president to bestow one of the most prestigious civilian awards in the country on Gray.

During the civil rights movement, Gray argued successfully on several key cases, including Browder v. Gayle, in which the Montgomery segregation laws that led to the bus boycott were found unconstitutional. He was also the personal advocate for Parks and activist Claudette Colvin for refusing to give up their seats to white passengers.

In addition to his civil rights work, Gray was also the first black president of the Alabama State Bar from 2002 to 2003.

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