Object Type: Record
In Collection: Oral History Digital Collection
Oral history.; Interview conducted May 29, 2002 in James Gray's office. James Gray, Jr. was born on February 24, 1941, in Vicksburg, Mississippi. The family moved to Port Gibson, Mississippi when Gray was three years old, and he has lived there ever since. Gray went to school in Claiborne County and he attended the Archer School and the Claiborne County Training School in Port Gibson. Gray left school during his tenth grade year to work to support his mother, his sister and himself. Some of GrayΓÇÖs jobs include gas station attendant, auto mechanic, auto salesman, service manager and work as a carpenter. Gray has also served as assistant fire chief and was then promoted to county fire chief, where he worked for twenty-five years before he retired in 2004. During the civil rights struggle, Gray attempted to register to vote, but was denied. After the legislature changed how districts would elect officials, Gray decided to run for office. In 1966, his first try for an elected office was unsuccessful, however, he was encouraged to try again. Then, in 1967, he ran for the office of Election Commissioner and he won. Gray has served Claiborne County now approaching forty years, the longest-held elected office in Mississippi.