William H. Gray III

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William H. Gray III
William Herbert Gray.jpg
House Majority Whip
In office
June 15, 1989 – September 11, 1991
Leader Tom Foley
Preceded by Tony Coelho
Succeeded by David Bonior
Chair of the House Democratic Caucus
In office
January 3, 1989 – June 15, 1989
Leader Jim Wright
Tom Foley
Preceded by Dick Gephardt
Succeeded by Steny Hoyer
Chair of the House Budget Committee
In office
January 3, 1985 – January 3, 1989
Preceded by James R. Jones
Succeeded by Leon Panetta
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Pennsylvania's 2nd district
In office
January 3, 1979 – September 11, 1991
Preceded by Robert N. C. Nix Sr.
Succeeded by Lucien E. Blackwell
Personal details
Born William Herbert Gray III
(1941-08-20)August 20, 1941
Baton Rouge, Louisiana, U.S.
Died July 1, 2013(2013-07-01) (aged 71)
London, United Kingdom
Political party Democratic
Education Franklin & Marshall College (BA)
Drew University (MDiv)
Princeton Theological Seminary (ThM)

William Herbert Gray III (August 20, 1941 – July 1, 2013) was an American politician and member of the Democratic Party who represented Pennsylvania's 2nd congressional district from 1979 to 1991. He also served as chairman of the House Committee on the Budget from 1985 to 1989 and House Majority Whip from 1989 to 1991. He resigned from Congress in September of that year to become president and chief executive officer of the United Negro College Fund, a position he held until 2004.

As an African American, he was the fourth-highest-ranking member of the House at the time of his resignation and a minister in Philadelphia. He was co-founder of the government lobbying and advisory firm, Gray Loeffler LLC, headquartered in Washington D.C.[1]

Early life

Gray was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, but grew up in St. Augustine, Florida, where his father was president of Florida Normal and Industrial Institute (later renamed Florida Memorial University), and later in North Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where he graduated from Simon Gratz High School. He attended Franklin & Marshall College, where he received a bachelor's degree in 1963. He went on to obtain a master's in divinity from Drew Theological Seminary in 1966 and a master's in theology from Princeton Theological Seminary in 1970. Gray received a L.H.D. from Bates College in 1994.

Career

In 1972, Gray succeeded his father as the senior minister at Bright Hope Baptist Church in Philadelphia. He was elected as a Democrat to represent Philadelphia in the United States House of Representatives in 1978. He represented Pennsylvania's 2nd congressional district in the House of Representatives from 1978 until his resignation on September 11, 1991. He was the first African-American to chair the House Budget Committee and also the first to serve as the Majority Whip (1989–1991). As chairman of the Committee on Budget, Gray introduced H.R. 1460, an anti-Apartheid bill that prohibited loans and new investment in South Africa and enforced sanctions on imports and exports with South Africa. This bill was an instrumental precursor to the Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act of 1986 (H.R. 4868).

Portrait of Gray in the Collection of the U.S. House of Representatives

Gray stepped down from Congress in 1991 to serve as president of the United Negro College Fund from 1991 to 2004. The move was considered surprising and prompted speculation that it may have been connected with an investigation into alleged campaign finance irregularities. The Justice Department, however never brought charges against Gray and there was further speculation that the investigation itself was a political attack waged by opponents.

Gray served as a special adviser to the President and Secretary of State for Haitian affairs in 1994. He was named to the PoliticsPA list of "Pennsylvania's Top Political Activists."[2]

Outside politics he was also a businessman who has been a director at Dell from 2000. Gray was a director of J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., Prudential Financial Inc., Rockwell International Corporation, Visteon Corporation and Pfizer. He retired from Bright Hope Baptist Church in 2007 and was succeeded by Kevin R. Johnson.

Personal life

Gray was married to the former Andrea Dash; they have three sons, William IV, Justin and Andrew. Gray was a member of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity. Gray died on July 1, 2013, in London, while attending the Wimbledon tennis tournament with his son Andrew. Gray's death came suddenly and no cause of death has been given. He was 71.[3]

Awards and honors

In 1997 he received the Four Freedom Award for the Freedom of Worship.[4]

In 2014 President Barack Obama signed U.S. House resolution 4838 directing Amtrak to rename Philadelphia's 30th Street Station to William H. Gray III 30th Street Station.[5]

See also

References

  1. ^ .William Gray's Profile on Forbes.com
  2. ^ "Pennsylvania's Top Political Activists". PoliticsPA. The Publius Group. 2002. Archived from the original on 2002-11-13. 
  3. ^ "Former Congressman William Gray dies". UPI. Retrieved July 2, 2013. 
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-03-25. Retrieved 2015-05-13. 
  5. ^ https://www.congress.gov/bill/113th-congress/house-bill/4838/text

External links

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Robert N. C. Nix Sr.
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Pennsylvania's 2nd congressional district

1979–1991
Succeeded by
Lucien E. Blackwell
Preceded by
James R. Jones
Chair of the House Budget Committee
1985–1989
Succeeded by
Leon Panetta
Preceded by
Tony Coelho
House Majority Whip
1989–1991
Succeeded by
David Bonior
Party political offices
Preceded by
Les AuCoin, Joe Biden, Bill Bradley, Robert Byrd, Tom Daschle, Bill Hefner, Barbara B. Kennelly, George Miller, Tip O'Neill, Paul Tsongas, Tim Wirth
Response to the State of the Union address
1984
Served alongside: Max Baucus, Joe Biden, David L. Boren, Barbara Boxer, Robert Byrd, Dante Fascell, Tom Harkin, Dee Huddleston, Carl Levin, Tip O'Neill, Claiborne Pell
Succeeded by
Bill Clinton
Bob Graham
Tip O'Neill
Preceded by
Bill Clinton
Bob Graham
Tip O'Neill
Response to the State of the Union address
1986
Served alongside: Tom Daschle, George Mitchell, Chuck Robb, Harriet Woods
Succeeded by
Robert Byrd
Jim Wright
Preceded by
Dick Gephardt
Chair of the House Democratic Caucus
1989
Succeeded by
Steny Hoyer
Preceded by
Tony Coelho
House Democratic Whip
1989–1991
Succeeded by
David Bonior
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