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The Honorable William H. Gray, III

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Information about The Honorable William H. Gray, III

Profile image of The Honorable William H. Gray, III

Profession

Category:
PoliticalMakers
CivicMakers
Occupation(s):
Foundation Executive
U.S. Congressman

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Fried Chicken
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
South Florida, Caribbean
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
8/20/1941
Birth Location:
Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Profession

Category:
PoliticalMakers
CivicMakers
Occupation(s):
Foundation Executive
U.S. Congressman

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Fried Chicken
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
South Florida, Caribbean
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
8/20/1941
Birth Location:
Baton Rouge
See how The Honorable William H. Gray, III is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Politician William Gray III was born August 20, 1941, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana; his father Rev. Dr. William II was a college president, and his mother, Hazel Yates Gray, a dean. Gray attended Scott Street School in Baton Rouge; the Lab School of Florida A&M University; Meade Elementary School in Philadelphia; Cook Junior High School; and graduated from Simon Gratz High School in 1959 as vice president of student government and a four time varsity athlete. The Gray’s often hosted then young Martin Luther King, Jr. when he was at Crozier Theological Seminary. Gray graduated from Franklin Marshall College with a degree in history in 1963; he received his M.A. degree in divinity from Drew University in 1966, and his M.A. degree in church history from Princeton University in 1970.

Gray became pastor of Union Baptist Church in Montclair, New Jersey, in 1966, and later succeeded his father as pastor of Bright Hope Baptist Church in Philadelphia in 1972. Elected to the United States House of Representatives in 1978 from Pennsylvania’s 2nd Congressional District, Gray was an active member of the Congressional Black Caucus. Gray became chair of the Democratic Caucus and the Democratic Party whip; he was the first African American chairman of the Budget Committee. Gray wrote the legislation that led the fight to impose economic sanctions on South Africa in 1985 and 1986. Resigning from Congress in 1991, Gray was appointed president and CEO of the United Negro College Fund and served until 2004; during his tenure, he raised $1.1 billion of the $2 billion raised in UNCF’s entire 58-year history. Following a 24-day hunger strike by TransAfrica’s Randall Robinson, Gray led a Congressional Black Caucus Task Force to Haiti in 1994. Gray then served as special advisor to the President on Haiti in 1994/95. In 1995, Gray received the Medal of Honor from Haitian President Jean Bertrand Aristide.

A former professor of history at St. Peters College, Jersey State College, Montclair State College Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary, and Temple University, Gray was awarded eight honorary degrees over the course of his career. Gray also was awarded the distinguished Franklin Delano Roosevelt Freedom of Worship Medal, and was consistently listed as one of Ebony’s 100 Most Influential African Americans. In the latter part of his career, Gray served as the vice chairman of the Pew Commission on Children and Foster Care.

Hon. William H. Gray passed away on July 1, 2013.

See how The Honorable William H. Gray, III is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of The Honorable William H. Gray, III's interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - The Honorable William H. Gray, III lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - The Honorable William H. Gray, III describes his mother's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - The Honorable William H. Gray, III talks about the heritage and education of his mother's family
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - The Honorable William H. Gray, III describes his mother's growing up in Louisiana
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - The Honorable William H. Gray, III describes his father's career
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - The Honorable William H. Gray, III describes his father's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - The Honorable William H. Gray, III describes the educational and religious traditions of his family
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - The Honorable William H. Gray, III describes his parents' personalities and who he takes after
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - The Honorable William H. Gray, III describes his earliest childhood memories
  • Tape: 1 Story: 11 - The Honorable William H. Gray, III describes his earliest memory of racism, pt. 1
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - The Honorable William H. Gray, III describes his earliest memory of racism, pt. 2
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - The Honorable William H. Gray, III recalls spending time in Baton Rouge, Louisiana during his childhood
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - The Honorable William H. Gray, III describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - The Honorable William H. Gray, III describes his childhood personality
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - The Honorable William H. Gray, III talks about the role of religion in his childhood
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - The Honorable William H. Gray, III traces the history of historically black colleges and universities
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - The Honorable William H. Gray, III describes his elementary school education
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - The Honorable William H. Gray, III describes his experience at Simon Gratz High School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - The Honorable William H. Gray, III describes the popular music scene in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania during his youth
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - The Honorable William H. Gray, III describes the student body at Simon Gratz High School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - The Honorable William H. Gray, III recalls his experience at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - The Honorable William H. Gray, III describes the African American community in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania during his youth
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - The Honorable William H. Gray, III talks about his family's relationship with the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - The Honorable William H. Gray, III relates why he attended Franklin and Marshall College
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - The Honorable William H. Gray, III describes his history major at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - The Honorable William H. Gray, III talks about Civil War history
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - The Honorable William H. Gray, III remembers the March on Washington in 1963
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - The Honorable William H. Gray, III describes the white community's perceptions of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. during the 1960s
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - The Honorable William H. Gray, III recalls how Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. achieved national prominence
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - The Honorable William H. Gray, III talks about the shifts in American political parties during the 1960s
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - The Honorable William H. Gray, III talks about how African Americans joined the Democrat Party during the 1960s
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - The Honorable William H. Gray, III talks about his civil rights activities in New Jersey during the 1960s
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Slating of the Honorable William H. Gray, III's interview, session 2
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - The Honorable William H. Gray, III remembers deciding to enter the ministry
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - The Honorable William H. Gray, III recalls significant mentors at Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - The Honorable William H. Gray, III describes his family's relationship with Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - The Honorable William H. Gray, III remembers his time at Drew Theological School in Madison, New Jersey
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - The Honorable William H. Gray, III recalls the assassination of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1968
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - The Honorable William H. Gray, III talks about returning to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to pastor Bright Hope Baptist Church
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - The Honorable William H. Gray, III describes the African American communities in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in the 1960s and 1970s
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - The Honorable William H. Gray, III recalls taking a stand against Mayor Frank Rizzo of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - The Honorable William H. Gray, III describes his graduate studies in divinity
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - The Honorable William H. Gray, III remembers flouting the Democratic political machine in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - The Honorable William H. Gray, III describes shifts in the Democratic Party in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - The Honorable William H. Gray, III talks about the rise of the independent Democratic movement in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Tape: 6 Story: 7 - The Honorable William H. Gray, III describes the origins of his independent Democratic movement in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Tape: 6 Story: 8 - The Honorable William H. Gray, III talks about his first campaigns for U.S. Congress during the 1970s
  • Tape: 6 Story: 9 - The Honorable William H. Gray, III talks about the people who supported him during his early campaigns for U.S. Congress
  • Tape: 7 Story: 1 - The Honorable William H. Gray, III describes the success of his independent coalition in the 1979 Philadelphia City Council races
  • Tape: 7 Story: 2 - The Honorable William H. Gray, III talks about the progressive figures in Philadelphia politics whom he supported
  • Tape: 7 Story: 3 - The Honorable William H. Gray, III recalls his freshman term in the U.S. Congress
  • Tape: 7 Story: 4 - The Honorable William H. Gray, III talks about his tenure as chairman of the U.S. House Committee on the Budget
  • Tape: 7 Story: 5 - The Honorable William H. Gray, III talks about spearheading legislation to impose economic sanctions on South Africa, pt. 1
  • Tape: 7 Story: 6 - The Honorable William H. Gray, III talks about spearheading legislation to impose economic sanctions on South Africa, pt. 2
  • Tape: 7 Story: 7 - The Honorable William H. Gray, III recalls how he adjusted to the U.S. Congress
  • Tape: 8 Story: 1 - The Honorable William H. Gray, III recounts balancing his responsibilities as a pastor and congressman
  • Tape: 8 Story: 2 - The Honorable William H. Gray, III talks about his decision to step down from the U.S. Congress in 1991
  • Tape: 8 Story: 3 - The Honorable William H. Gray, III reflects upon his legacy
  • Tape: 8 Story: 4 - The Honorable William H. Gray, III reflects upon the leadership qualities that made him successful
  • Tape: 8 Story: 5 - The Honorable William H. Gray, III describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community
  • Tape: 8 Story: 6 - The Honorable William H. Gray, III talks about his family
  • Tape: 8 Story: 7 - The Honorable William H. Gray, III reflects upon his life
  • Tape: 8 Story: 8 - The Honorable William H. Gray, III describes how he would like to be remembered