Today, February 4, 2013 marks the 100th anniversity of the birth of Grier Raggio, Sr. and Rosa Parks. They shared more than just their birthday.
For those who don't remember, Rosa Parks was the courageous black woman who refused to ride in the back of the bus in Montgomery, Alabama in 1955. This act led to the Montgomery bus strike, an important event in the sequence leading up to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. We are grateful for her courage.
Grier Raggio, Sr. founded Raggio & Rraggio with his wife Louise Raggio in 1956, and the two had a thriving practice in November, 1963. Both Grier and Louise were active in helping develop civil rights; Louise is legend for her work leading to the passage of the Family Code, leading to important rights for married women. Grier believed strongly that everyone had fundamental legal rights, including those accused of grave crimes.
Grier Raggio Sr. was one of a handful of lawyers of the Dallas Bar Association who went down to the Dallas County jail the night of November 22, 1963 to insure that the rights of Lee Harvey Oswald were protected. This contigent of lawyers were assured by the various powers-that-be that night that indeed Oswald was being afforded his fundamental rights.
Then a 9th grader, I remember how I thrashed about, cried, and tried to stop my father from going down there that Friday night. I didn't care about Lee Harvey's rights; I cared about the possible stigma to "us" by my Dad having anything to do with the assasinaion of President John F. Kennedy. But my father was a strong believer that everyone had certain constitutional rights. Even if such belief was unpopular at the time.
I am grateful for the courage my father showed that infamous night.
Grier Raggio, Sr. and Rosa Parks shared more than just a birthday.