Gray to headline fifth annual Civil Rights Conference
Volume 77, Issue 18
Issue Publication: 2005-02-15
Civil rights attorney Fred Gray will headline the fifth annual Civil Rights Conference at UTM.
Fred Gray, civil rights attorney, who represented both Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr., and won hundreds of school desegregation cases in Alabama, will headline the fifth annual Civil Rights Conference at the UTM. "Then and Now: The Road to School Desegregation in West Tennessee," is the theme for the conference, set for Feb. 21-26.
"The purpose of the week's events is to tell the story of school segregation from the perspective of the Native Americans and the African Americans who experienced segregated schools and desegregation in West Tennessee. The conference brings together a group of scholars, professionals and individuals who witnessed desegregation firsthand," said Dr. Alice-Catherine Carls, chair of the UTM Civil Rights planning committee.
The event will kick off, Feb. 21, with a mock trial of "Brown vs. Board," sponsored by the Student Government Association (SGA), the Black Student Association (BSA) and the Office of Multicultural Affairs at UTM. Poet and writer, Marilou Awiakta, author of "Selu: Seeking the Corn Mother's Wisdom," musicians, Tommy Wildcat, member of the Cherokee nation of Oklahoma, and J.J. Kent, member of the Sioux tribe, Oglala Lakota, from Pine Ridge, will be available for autographs, Feb. 22. A Native American exhibit also will be ongoing outside Watkins Auditorium in Boling University Center.
Gray is scheduled to speak at 7:15 p.m., Feb. 24, in Watkins
Auditorium in Boling University Center. Among several others, he has won cases including, "Browder vs. Gayle," which integrated buses in Montgomery, Ala.; "Gomillion vs. Lightfoot," which opened the door for redistricting and reapportioning the various legislative bodies across the nation and laid the foundation for the concept of "one man one vote;" and "NAACP vs. State of Alabama," a case that first outlawed the NAACP from conducting business in Alabama and, after being taken to the Supreme Court three times, eventually granted the NAACP the right to resume business.
Gray also won a case reinstating students who were unconstitutionally expelled from Alabama State College, a class action suit, which led to the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and filed suits that integrated all state institutions of higher learning in Alabama.