/Duncan Gray Jr, retired bishop and civil rights activist, dies in Jackson

Duncan Gray Jr, retired bishop and civil rights activist, dies in Jackson

According to the Episcopal Diocese of Mississippi, Bishop Brian R. Seage was present with Gray at Gray’s death. Funeral services are being planned. Gray, who was born Sept. 21, 1926 in Canton, was the 7th bishop of Episcopal Diocese of Mississippi. He served from 1974 to 1993. Gray succeeded his father as the 7th bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Mississippi. Gray, a priest in southern America, was most well-known for his civil rights activism, particularly his efforts to calm the University of Mississippi campus during James Meredith’s integration of all-white schools in 1962. Gray was the rector at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, Oxford. Gray was the subject in a book written by Will Campbell, entitled And Also with You: Duncan Gray’s American Dilemma. In 2011, Gray’s wife Ruthie Spivey was the one to precede him. They are survived by their sons, Lloyd and Duncan III, as well as daughters Anne and Catherine. There are also many grandchildren and great-grandchildren. The Episcopal Diocese of Mississippi’s ninth Bishop was Duncan M. Gray III. Gray was a graduate of the University of the South, Sewanee in Tenn. in 1953. He worked with the faculty in overturning the school’s long-standing policy of banning African Americans. He wrote a radical document calling on the then-segregated Episcopal Church, which urged it to stand against racial discrimination after the U.S. Supreme Court had ruled against segregation within public schools. Gray called segregation “incompatible” with the Christian gospel. He tried to calm the crowd by holding on to a Confederate monument that was located on the school campus. Gray was eventually pulled down and beat. Gray had earlier that day spoken from St. Peter’s pulpit and said that Christians should do all they can to “uproot and expel” hatred, bitterness, anger, and prejudice. Half of his congregation left after Gray’s comments. Gray stated that U.S.-American race relations had improved in an interview with The Christian Century in October 2015. He said, “We still have a long way to go.” “But we have come a long distance from where we were in the past. It’s amazing to me when I think about it. But we live and learn.” Gray graduated from Central High School, Jackson in 1944 after attending Greenwood high school. Gray joined the Navy, and was assigned to Tulane University as part of the Navy-12 Program. In 1948, he received an engineering degree from Tulane University and was commissioned as a Navy officer. Gray started his secular career at Westinghouse Corp. and decided three years later to go to seminary. In 1953, he graduated from Sewanee. He was also a parish priest and received an Honorary Doctorate of Divinity in 1972 from his alma mater. His father ordained Gray to the Diaconiate on April 8, 1953 and the priesthood in October. Gray was rector at St. Paul’s, Meridian, from 1974 to 1974, when he was elected bishop. This post he held for twenty years. He was a bishop in turbulent times and supported controversial changes to the 1928 Book of Common Prayer as well as the ordination of women. To support this important work, you can make a regular donation to us today as we celebrate our Spring Member Drive.