LOS ANGELES –The National Bar Association Board of Governors, Hyundai Motor America, and The Law firm of Ivie, McNeill & Wyatt joined forces to honor legendary civil rights attorney Fred Gray at a special reception on Saturday, July 18, 2015. Held at the law offices of Ivie, McNeil and Wyatt, Hyundai executives, National Bar Association Board members, and high profile elected officials gathered to celebrate Gray, one of the nation’s most prominent civil rights leaders. The famed attorney, a graduate of Case Western Reserve University School of Law is well-respected and seen as an icon in the civil rights movement, having represented Rosa Parks in 1954 after her arrest for refusing to give up her seat on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama. He later served as Martin Luther King, Jr.’s personal attorney, and led the legal case for voting rights after the famous Selma to Montgomery March in 1964. In his over 60-year legal career, Gray has represented numerous significant clients including Freedom Riders and Tuskegee Syphilis Study participants among many others.
Speaking at the reception hosted in conjunction with the National Bar Association, were Los Angeles City Council President, Herb Wesson, Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors member Mark Ridley Thomas and Jerry Flannery, Executive Vice President and General Counsel of Hyundai Motor America who lauded the immense contribution Mr. Gray has made toward nation building, highlighting the pivotal role he played in landmark litigation that helped advance civil rights. “Attorney Gray has dedicated a lifetime to the service of justice and equality for all through his practice of the law,” said Flannery. “He has been recognized by U.S. Presidents and leaders around the world for his work in civil rights. Our nation, indeed the world is a better place, because Fred Gray was determined to bring about change and fought and won cases to end segregation in the U.S. We are proud to recognize his achievements for his over 60 years of service to the legal profession.” Flannery presented Gray with a Lifetime Achievement Plaque on behalf of Hyundai.
Rickey Ivie, senior partner of Ivie, McNeill & Wyatt in his remarks thanked Hyundai for their support of the event which recognized a stalwart and legal legend. “We are thrilled that Hyundai has joined us in welcoming President Pamela Meanes and the National Bar Association to Los Angeles for its 90th Annual Convention. The National Bar Association is the conscience of the American Legal system, whose members fight for legal justice on behalf of underserved and underrepresented persons every day.” Ivie said, “We are especially pleased to have this occasion to celebrate the work that Attorney Fred Gray has done to shape our system of juris prudence, particularly for people of color. The concept of civil rights in the U.S. is due in no small part to Mr. Gray.” Ivie, McNeill & Wyatt, a general practice litigation and transactional firm that represents consumers, businesses and public entities is this year celebrating its 35th anniversary.
The event was part of the National Bar Association’s Board of Governor’s opening ceremonial activities. The Board of Governor’s reception marked the beginning of the Association’s 90th Annual Convention, which was held in Los Angeles July 18-23 at the Westin Bonaventure Hotel. The reception also was an opportunity to pay tribute to attorney Fred Gray, who has long been a champion of the civil rights movement. The 83-year old Alabama native member and past president of the National Bar Association, Gray continues to practice of law at his Tuskegee Law firm.
The annual event, hosted by the National Bar Association, was attended by city and government officials, representatives of the diplomatic and consular corps, Hyundai executives, judges and top lawyers throughout the nation.