My Blog

Fred Gray talks Rosa Parks, new memoir, with John Seigenthaler, CSPAN2

Bus Ride to Justice: Changing the System by the System by Fred GrayA new video and a podcast interview with attorney Fred Gray complement the release of the newly revised edition of Gray’s memoir, Bus Ride to Justice: Changing the System by the System. During the tumultuous years of the Civil Rights Movement, Gray served as the lawyer for Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks; he also argued in cases involving school desegregations, and helped bring about a presidential apology for victims of the Tuskegee Syphilis Study.

A video of Gray’s September presentation at the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum is available online from C-SPAN2; an interview with Gray on John Seigenthaler’s Words on Words program can be downloaded as an MP3.

At the Carter Library, Gray described his book to the audience as “a history of the Civil Rights Movement as it begun in Montgomery, Alabama, in December of 1955, spreading throughout the state, throughout the country.” He continued, “The effects [of the Civil Rights Movement] went around the world. Almost every civil rights event that has occurred since 1955 — to some degree — you can trace a great deal of it back to Montgomery, Alabama.” Gray’s memoir details these integral events in Montgomery, including the arrests of Claudette Colvin and Rosa Parks, and the Montgomery Bus Boycott.

Gray’s speech aired on C-SPAN2’s Book TV and is available for viewing online.

On John Seigenthaler’s Words on Words, originally aired on October 27 on Nashville Public Radio, Seigenthaler and Gray look at the revised edition of Bus Ride to Justice‘s new revelations about Rosa Parks’s arrest and the beginning of the Montgomery Bus Boycott. In the book, Gray reveals that he and Parks, a secretary for the Montgomery branch of the NAACP, spent many weeks discussing how to use an arrest as a way to push for change in Montgomery.

“We really couldn’t completely pre-plan it,” Gray tells Seigenthaler, since they couldn’t predict when buses would be full and when Parks might be asked to give up her seat, “but what we did know and what Ms. Parks understood was that she would be an ideal person if the opportunity [for protest] presented itself.” Gray goes on to say that “Ms. Parks was the key person and she wanted to take her place in history and she did, not by accident. … The whole thing to a degree was planned in the sense that we were prepared.”

John Seigenthaler’s C-SPAN2; an interview with Gray on John Seigenthaler’s Words on Words interview with Fred Gray, including a discussion of the photographs included in the book, is available as an audio podcast.

The revised edition of Bus Ride to Justice: Changing the System by the System by Fred Gray, is available as a hardcover and ebook from NewSouth Books, Amazon, or your favorite bookstore.