Civil rights attorney Fred Gray receives the nation’s highest honor

 1565937510 
1657298947
President Joe Biden presents the Presidential Medal of Freedom to civil rights attorney Fred Gray

U.S. President Joe Biden presents the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Fred Gray, one of the first Black members of the Alabama state legislature since Reconstruction, during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House July 7, 2022 in Washington, DC. President Biden awarded the nation's highest civilian honor to 17 recipients. The award honors individuals who have made exemplary contributions to the prosperity, values, or security of the United States, world peace, or other significant societal, public or private endeavors.

Alex Wong, Getty Images

Fred Gray, an attorney behind major legal cases of the civil rights era, received the Presidential Medal of Freedom Thursday, the nation’s highest civilian award. 

“From the very beginning, I’ve known that there is no one more deserving of our nation’s highest civilian honor than Attorney Gray whose trailblazing work helped end segregation and advance a more equitable future,” said Alabama Congresswoman Terri Sewell. 

Sewell has been advocating for Gray to receive the award. 

Fred Gray was born in Montgomery and dedicated his life to seeking justice for Black people in the courtroom. He’s most known for representing Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, NAACP and victims of the Tuskegee Syphilis study

At age 91, Gray is still practicing law.

Among the 16 other recipients of the medal was civil rights activist Diane Nash. Nash was born in Chicago and is most known for co-founding the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). Through her leadership in SNCC, she helped lead the Freedom Rides, Selma Voting Rights Movement and lunch counter sit-ins. 

King described her as “the driving spirit in the nonviolent assault on segregation at lunch counters.” 

“Unshakeable courage and leadership, Diane Nash, shapes some of the most important civil rights efforts in American history,” said President Biden during the ceremony. 

It wasn’t until years after the civil rights era that Nash received recognition for her work. 

Nash continues to be an advocate for nonviolent movements.

 

Local health officials plan to increase monkeypox vaccinations

Health officials will soon begin offering intradermal vaccinations, reaching more people with less vaccine.

Combating gun violence remains a top focus of the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

As violent crime in Birmingham and the surrounding area continues to increase, the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama, Prim Escalona, uses a variety of tools and strategies to get firearms and bad guys off the street.

Some 3rd graders in local schools could be held back under new law 

This is the first school year that third graders who do not read at grade level by the end of the school year must be held back in that grade, rather than passed on to fourth grade. The Alabama Literacy Act was passed several years ago, but its implementation was delayed because of the pandemic.

How one Birmingham custodian preps for the first day of school

When the kids are away, the custodial and maintenance staff in schools work all summer long. One custodian told WBHM about what it takes to keep the kids happy and healthy as they trade sunshine for fluorescent lights.

Dollar store workers are organizing for a better workplace. Just don’t call it a union.

Fired up by a labor movement that’s seen big union victories recently, dollar store workers are organizing in their own way to improve work conditions.

Bill Clark has a knack for making comebacks. Will he make one more? 

Bill Clark has had to overcome some serious hurdles during his career at UAB, as well as in his personal life. He not only resurrected a football program that had been neglected—and then out-right killed—he’s also been fighting through what he’s called a serious injury since childhood.

More Front Page Coverage