Gray, William H., III

Gray, William H. (Herbert), III

(1941–  ) U.S. representative, Baptist minister, organization executive; born in Baton Rouge, La. Son and grandson of clergymen, he took degrees at Drew Seminary (1966) and Princeton Theological Seminary (1970), then did postgraduate work at several universities. Between 1964 and 1972 he also served as pastor of the Union Baptist Church in Montclair, N.J.; in 1972 he became senior minister at Bright Hope Baptist Church in Philadelphia, where his father and grandfather had previously been ministers. Deciding that he could do more good for African-Americans in the political arena, he represented the largely-black second district of Philadelphia in the U.S. House of Representatives (Dem., 1979–91); he chaired the House Budget Committee (1982–88) and became the House majority whip (1989–91). Thought to have prospect of even higher political office, he surprised everyone when in 1991 he left Congress to become president of the United Negro College Fund.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.