In 1978, William H. Gray III won a seat in Congress, a position he would hold until 1991. Representing Philadelphia, PA, he eventually climbed his way to the top, becoming the highest-ranking black lawmaker in the United States. He died at the age of 71 on Monday.
For 20 years, Gray served in the House of Representatives and advocated for equality, education and the poor. In addition to his tenure as a lawmaker, he became president and chief executive of the United Negro College Fund.
But Gray, who was born in Louisiana, was also a third-generation Baptist minister and he earned divinity degrees from both Drew Theological Seminary and Princeton Theological Seminary.
"Bill Gray was a trailblazer, proudly representing his beloved Philadelphia in Congress for over a decade as the first African-American to chair the Budget Committee and to serve as the Majority Whip," President Obama said in a statement. "Bill's extraordinary leadership, on issues from housing to transportation to supporting efforts that ended apartheid in South Africa, made our communities, our country and our world a more just place. Michelle and I extend our deepest sympathies to Bill's family, especially to his wife Andrea and their three sons."
Joining us to discuss his legacy is Congressman Chaka Fattah (D-PA).
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