Jesse Gray

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Jesse Gray (May 14, 1923 – January 2, 1988) was an American civil rights leader and politician from New York.

Biography[edit]

Jesse Gray was born on May 14, 1923,[1] near Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He came to New York City and was a tailor.

He organized protests of tenants against conditions in Harlem's slum areas in the 1950s. In November 1963, he led a widespread rent strike. To emphasize bad conditions and infestation with vermin, the tenants caught rats in their tenements and showed them to the judge of the New York City Civil Court.[2] No measures were taken to better the conditions, and the protesters rioted the next year.[3]

He became head of the Community Council for Housing, and organized the National Tenants Organization. He also entered politics as a Democrat. In 1969, he ran unsuccessfully for the New York City Council. In 1970, he challenged Congressman Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., but was defeated. Gray was elected to the New York State Assembly (70th D.) in November 1972, and was a member in 1973 and 1974. In 1974, he ran for re-nomination, but was defeated in the Democratic primary.

He died on January 2, 1988, at the Beth Abraham Home in the Bronx, after lying in a coma for a long time.[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ GRAY, JESSE W." at Social Security Info
  2. ^ "No Place Like Home". Time. 1964-07-31. Retrieved 2007-11-26. 
  3. ^ Noel, Peter (1999-09-01). "By Any Means (Unnecessary)". Village Voice. Retrieved 2007-11-26. 
  4. ^ Jesse Gray, 64, Leader Of Harlem Rent Strikes in the New York Times on April 5, 1988
New York Assembly
Preceded by
Hulan E. Jack
New York State Assembly
70th District

1973–1974
Succeeded by
Marie M. Runyon