Gray made history 50 years ago when he successfully argued the U.S. Supreme Court case that led to the desegregation of buses in Montgomery.That case was called Browder v. Gayle/ He made history yet again in 2002, when he was installed as the first black president of the Alabama State Bar Association.
Gray decided in his junior year of college to pursue a career in law. He could not attend the then-segregated University of Alabama, although he later would argue a case that opened the doors once closed to him. When he got ready to go to law school, a college instructor recommended that he go to Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. So he headed to Cleveland.
Vowing to destroy everything segregated he could find once he returned to Alabama, he got his chance to battle segregation in 1955. When Parks was arrested, Gray already had been the attorney for Claudette Colvin, who had been arrested several months before under similar circumstances. He later filed suit in the famous Browder v. Gayle case.
In 1970, he became one of the first two blacks elected to the Alabama Legislature since Reconstruction. He served until 1974. The National Bar Association, a group that black lawyers founded in 1923 when the American and state bar associations didn’t allow blacks, elected Gray as its president in 1985.