Edit Current Bio
UCB is written collaboratively by you and our community of volunteers. Please edit and add contents by clicking on the add and edit links to the right of the content

Beverly Rennick Gray

Born on 9-16-1950. She was born in Philadelphia, PA. She was accomplished in the area of Politics. She later died on 2-18-2004.
  • Basic Info
  • Attachments
  • Relations
  • Organizations
  • Accomplishments
  • Schools
  • Employers
Beverly A. Gray was born Beverly A. Rennick in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1950. She was the youngest daughter of William and Bertha Rennick. The family relocated to Buffalo, New York, in 1958. She was the former wife of Mr. Richard D. Gray and the mother of Richard D. Gray, Jr. Ms. Gray grew up and resided in the Masten District, located on the city's east side.

Ms. Gray, being a small business owner and operator, was elected Councilmember-At-Large for the City of Buffalo in November 1995. She was the first African American woman in the history of Buffalo politics to hold a citywide office. She was sworn in and seated as Councilmember-At-Large on January 1, 1996.

In Councilmember Gray's first term as an elected official, she made her mark on the city as being outspoken as it relates to political, economic, and social injustice in the way government delivers services. She was unconventional based on her natural ability to plan, develop, and implement projects. Councilmember Gray established an open door policy in her first year making her the most publicly accessible member in local government, setting her apart from her colleagues.

She was appointed Chair to the Civil Service Committee; member of the Education, Finance, Police Reorganization and Oversight Subcommittee; in addition to chairing a special committee on Taxicab reform. Ms. Gray initiated revising the CURA plan for the city's east side, emphasizing economic redevelopment of commercial strips within inner city neighborhoods, in conjunction with preservation initiatives of existing commercial strips. The once commercially vibrant Jefferson Avenue is the current focus of her economic re-development plans. Ms. Gray secured 3.5 million dollars to design and construct a state-of-the-art Telecommunication Center as an anchor tenant for Jefferson Avenue. The historic Apollo Theater property now houses The Buffalo Municipal Communications Center, Public Education and Government (PEG channels).

Ms. Gray won re-election in 1999. As an At-Large member, she attended all committee meetings, enabling her to be well informed on City of Buffalo issues affecting the voter and tax base. She has held several positions as chair and committee-member during her tenure on the Council. She was appointed Chair of the Community Development Committee that oversees the distribution of the Federal Block Grant entitlement program with the Federal under the guidelines of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

In 2000, Ms. Gray was elected to the State Democratic Judicial Committee. She was the first woman to run for Mayor in Buffalo's history, and the first in opposition to an incumbent Mayor in 2001, opposing Mayor Anthony Masiello. The Mayor lauded her by recognizing that "She was a fighter for the underdog and for her community. While we had different views at times, I admired her."

"She was a tough fighter, concerned with the community -- the entire community," said Frank B. Mesiah, president of the Buffalo Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. "She was under a lot of pressure but never gave up. It will be difficult to replace somebody with that kind of moral strength."

Ms. Gray was founder and owner-operator of Ujama Family Day Care on Masten Avenue. She also was an originator of local support groups for black women who have breast cancer.

As a result of those endeavors, she was honored in 1995 by the Buffalo and Erie County chapters of the National Organization for Women.

Her humanitarian activities were extensive. She worked with community groups and block clubs from across the city. She initiated the dialogue that led to the building of the 6th Precinct in the forgotten African American community.

She was a member of many social, civil, and political groups including the NAACP; Buffalo Urban League, local chapter; United Negro College Fund; WNED public television; Greater East Side Business Association; Family Day Care Association, local chapter; Black Chamber of Commerce; Women for Human Rights and Dignity (WHRD); and the Women's Pavilion Pan American 2001. She was former First Vice President of Grassroots, Inc.; current Board Member of the Community Action Organization of Erie County; former Board Member of Minority Coalition, Inc.; and a volunteer for Project Joy.

Ms. Gray was a member of the Metropolitan United Methodist Church. She participated in the re-enactment of the Slave Crossing of the Niagara River to Freedom that is sponsored annually by the Buffalo Quarters Historical Society. She was Chaplain of the Harriet Tubman 300s; a group whose mandate is to mark historical sites used by runaway slaves.