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Black History Month: Civil rights attorneys discuss Rosa Parks, Trayvon Martin, and the fight for equality

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Benjamin Crump
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The New York Times
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Civil rights attorney Fred Gray has spent over 20 years of his decades-long career mentoring fellow lawyer Benjamin Crump. Both men have dedicated their lives to fighting for the rights of African-Americans and other underrepresented groups, proving that the battle for equal rights is just as important to take on today as it was in the 20th century.Gray is a civil rights icon who famously represented Rosa Parks and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. during the Montgomery bus boycott in 1955. Crump practices law in five states and Washington D.C.The two were brought together at the Tuskegee History Center in Alabama to talk about their life's work and what it took to pave the way for countless others in the modern civil rights institute.Fred Gray: Well when I was growing up in Montgomery in the '30s, '40s, '50s, there were basically only two positions that African American boys could really look at as being professions that people thought a lot about. And I said to myself, "I'm gonna be like Thurgood Marshall and the NAACP lawyers when I grow up, because I want to make it better for people in my community and people who look like me." And from that day and to this one, that's what I've been striving to do. But I also told her, I said, "You know Miss Parks, we've been dealing with this problem with the buses for a long time now. Crump: I think a lot went into the background of people knowing about Trayvon Martin, and this kid who was walking home minding his business when this neighborhood watch volunteer with a nine millimeter gun profiled, pursued and shot him in the heart. Gray:  Frequently people will say, "Well, Fred Gray, they say you did so much in the civil rights movement.

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