This evening I honor Attorney Fred Gray, the lawyer most associated with the case responsible for the desegregation of city buses in Montgomery, Alabama in 1955. I write this blog this evening because, well, when I was a student so long ago, my history teacher failed to tell me about Mr. Gray and the four female plaintiffs who went to court to argue for the desegregation of city buses. Now, when I journey to Montgomery, Alabama and ride on a bus, I do not have to sit in the back of the bus.
For that, I have to thank Attorney Gray and four African American women. There were four plaintiffs named in the law suite—Aurelia Browder, Claudette Colvin, Susie McDonald, and Louise Smith. Gray argued in this case that bus segregation should be ruled unconstitutional because it violated the fourteenth amendment of the constitution.
Take the opportunity to share the Browder V Gayle case with your students. Have them read Gray’s Bus Ride to Justice. This book offers an example of how to navigate through the legal system in one’s fight for equality. Bus Ride to Justice is a text that should rest on the shelves of every library; it is a must read! Amen!