Dr. L. LaSimba M. Gray, Jr. is the pastor of the historic New Sardis Baptist Church in Memphis, Tennessee. During the seventeen years that Dr. Gray has been at New Sardis, the membership has grown by 2,000 members. He served again as the Health Coordinator for the Memphis Affiliate of the Congress of National Black churches from 1992 – 1998. In this capacity, he leads the Memphis affiliate in health ministries and environmental justices.

In his prophetic ministry, he has served on the Tennessee Human Rights Commission under three governors. He teaches in the Congress of the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc.

Dr. Gray received the Bachelor of Science degree from Lane College, in 1968; the Masters Degree in Education from the University of Memphis, the Masters of Divinity and the Doctor of Ministry Degrees from the Memphis Theological Seminary.

Dr. Gray was nurtured in the Christian faith by loving, devoted Christian parents, the Reverend Leo M. Gray, Sr. and the late Mrs. Corine Olivia Gray. He was baptized at the Middle Baptist Church. It was at the Middle Baptist Church that Dr. Gray was introduced to prophetic ministry. The Reverend E. W. Williamson was an activist in the Civil Rights Movement and ran for the Memphis City School Board, when it was not popular, nor safe, to do so. Dr. Benjamin Lawson Hooks has served as Dr. Gray’s role model in the ministry for the past 52 years and remained his pastor, until his demise in 2010.

In 1984, Rev. Gray was elected to serve as an Alternate Delegate At-Large to the National Democratic Convention as a Committee Head delegate for Rev. Jesse L. Jackson to be nominated by the Democratic Party to be President of the United States of America.

In 1990, Dr. Gray organized a group of activists and filed a federal lawsuit challenging the runoff provision of city elections in Memphis. The federal court ruled, without a trial, that the runoff was unconstitutional and Dr. W. W. Herenton was elected the first African-American Mayor of the city of Memphis.

On December 5, 1999, the Shelby County Commission renamed a major section of Holmes Road in Memphis “The Dr. L. LaSimba M. Gray, Jr. Road” to honor Dr. Gray for his long tenure of service in Shelby County.

In February 2000, Dr. Gray made available to the general public his third published book: Deacons for Defense and Justice. This spellbinding book is about African-American Men in Bogalusa, Louisiana who armed themselves to defend their community against the KKK during the civil-rights movement.

In 2005, L. LaSimba M. Gray, Jr. was a delegate to the G-8 Summit Meeting in Edinburgh, Scotland, representing the clergy of America. The Mission was to get the eight richest nations in the world to cancel the debt of African countries and to increase aid to Africa and end hunger and poverty in the world. During this year Dr. Gray organized the African-American Museum of Memphis. His purpose for this museum is to preserve and teach the rich African-American History of Memphis, and the Mid-South.

Dr. Gray was elected to the Board of Directors of Tri-State Bank of Memphis, TN in April of 2006. This bank is owned by African-Americans and controls over 123 million dollars in assets.

In 2008, Dr. Gray was recognized by Jones Publishing Company as one of fifty most influential citizens in Memphis, Tennessee.

Dr. Gray’s mission in life is to empower people to become all that God wants them to be, and all they can become to liberate the world from sin, poverty, and enslavement. Dr. Gray is married to the former Mary Tunstall. They have four daughters and five grandchildren.