Fred Gray, the man who represented not only Rosa Parks, but the Tuskegee Syphilis case, as well as many other important Civil Rights cases, spoke at Belmont University on Jan. 20, 2010.
Gray talked about this life– how a young man, only 24 years old, became the legal council at the center of the storm in Montgomery, Al. in the late ’60s.
His core desire what to “destroy everything segregated [he] could find.”
Among the stories Gray told and things he revealed, was that the Rosa Parks incident was planned. Long has the story circulated that Rosa Parks was a random woman who was merely tired.
“There were so many people who think things just happened in Montgomery. They didn’t happen, they were planned,” Gray told the audience. When Parks was arrested she knew exactly what to do. Not only that, but she was not the first to be arrested. Fifteen-year-old Claudette Colvin refused to give up her seat on a bus nine months prior. According to Gray, if there had not been a Claudette Colvin, there might not have been a Rosa Parks as we know her today.
Apart from talking about Montgomery in the ’60s, Gray spoke about Civil Rights in the present day.
“The Civil Rights Movement is not over,” he said, the struggle for equal justice has not been achieved.
Gray presented the challenge of befriending someone of another race and truly getting to be best friends.
“The races really don’t know each other,” he said, also adding that it will take the help of everyone because of how ingrained racism is in the U.S.
He also emphasized the idea that if the fight for equal justice is lost, those who died will have died in vain, and that if “we lose, the nation loses.”