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William Gray (1996)

Louisiana Legends



Genre: Interview

Place Covered: Louisiana

Copyright Holder: Louisiana Educational Television Authority

Date Issued: 1996-09-13

Duration: 00:24:45

Subjects: Gray, William H., III | United States. Congress. House | Politics | Government | HIGHER EDUCATION | United Negro College Fund | African Americans | Segregation


  • Weill, Gus Host
  • Fowler, Ken Producer
  • Gray, William H., III Interviewee


This episode of the series “Louisiana Legends” from September 13, 1996, features an interview with William H. Gray, III conducted by Gus Weill. Gray, a native of Baton Rouge, served in the United States House of Representatives for Pennsylvania from 1979-1991 and became the first African American Majority Whip in 1989. He also worked as the President and CEO of the United Negro College Fund from 1991-2004. He discusses: his childhood summers in Baton Rouge after his family moved to Florida; his family of educators; his ministry work; his transition into politics; growing up as an African American during segregation; the foundation of African American churches and historically black colleges and universities; his run for Congress; his leadership roles in Congress; how he got involved with the United Negro College Fund; the Fund’s positive impact on the country; the history of the slogan, “A mind is a terrible thing to waste”; his role as President Bill Clinton’s advisor in Haiti; and the state of black Americans in 1996, including the problems that still exist.