FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 29, 2022
MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Texas State Senator Royce West (D-Dallas) was honored on Thursday (7/28/22) with induction into the Fred David Gray Hall of Fame of the National Bar Association, his state senate office announced.
The award is named after former National Bar Association President Fred D. Gray, Sr., who previously served as President of the National Bar Association. Gray is widely known as a civil rights leader and attorney, having worked closely with the late Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and served as counsel to Rosa Parks.
The Fred David Gray Hall of Fame honors lawyers who have practiced for at least 40 years and have made significant contributions to the cause of justice.
"I am deeply honored to be inducted into the Fred David Gray Hall of Fame," said Senator West. "From the time I first knew I wanted to be a lawyer; my greatest desire was to help people to see that justice was served with respect to their cases. It is especially gratifying to be honored in this way, because Fred Gray is a true civil rights champion, and someone who stood as an example of what public service looks like for other African American attorneys," Senator West concluded.
During Senator West's career as a lawyer and legislator, he has worked in numerous ways to further the cause of justice, speaking truth to power throughout the corridors of the Texas State Capitol, as well as in the courtroom. He has also experienced several firsts during his long legislative career.
After earning his undergraduate and Master's degrees at the University of Texas at Arlington, where he served as the school's first African American student body president, Senator West attended law school at the University of Houston. After graduating law school and a stint with the Harris County District Attorney's Office, he would join the Dallas County District Attorney's Office under the late District Attorney Henry Wade. He ultimately became the first African American chief felony prosecutor in Dallas County history.
During his time in the Texas Legislature, Senator West has furthered the cause of justice in a number of ways, including playing a key role in the passage of the James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Act, and authoring Texas' first law on racial profiling that placed cameras in law enforcement vehicles. Later, he passed legislation creating Texas' model, comprehensive body worn camera program. Most recently, in 2021, Senator West authored and passed legislation making it easier for property owners to remove discriminatory deed restrictions from property records. His Senate colleagues, in honor of his nearly three decades of working on similar enactments, named the bill "The Royce West Act," in his honor.
As a lawyer in private practice, Senator West has frequently taken on cases that have propelled important issues and social disparities to the front lines. His representation of the 1988 Carter High School football team, about which both a major motion picture and documentary were made, is one such case. Senator West's legal practice has also included representation of everyone from entertainers to famous athletes and coaches, to parents seeking justice for racially disparate disciplinary practices in local public schools.