January 4

January 4, 1985 – Congressman William H. Gray

William Herbert Gray

Congressman and Pastor William Herbert Gray

On January 4, 1985, Congressman and Baptist Pastor William H. Gray was elected chairman of the House Budget Committee which was the highest congressional position held by an African American. In 1989 he was elected to the powerful third ranking position of House majority whip. Gray served in congress from 1979 until 1991 when he decided to accept the position of chief executive of the United Negro College Fund.

William Gray III

Congressman and Pastor William H. Gray III

William Herbert Gray III was born on August 20, 1941 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana the son and grandson of Baptist pastors.  He would eventually pastor the same church as his father and grandfather, the Bright Hope Baptist Church in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  Gray served as pastor of Bright Hope for 35 years.  He received his bachelors degree from Franklin and Marshall College, a master of divinity degree from from Drew Theological School and a master of theology degree from Princeton Theological Seminary.  He died while in London, England on July 1, 2013 at age 71.