Former Dem Rep Dies At 71

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PHILADELPHIA — Former U.S. Rep. William H. Gray III, who rose to influential positions in Congress and was the first black to become majority whip, died Monday at 71.

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Born in Baton Rouge, La., Gray graduated from Franklin & Marshall College and Drew Theological Seminary in Jersey City, N.J., before being elected as a Democrat to Congress in 1978. He served as chairman of the powerful budget committee and became the first African-American in the 20th century to become majority whip of the U.S. House. During his tenure, he authored legislation implementing economic sanctions against South Africa.

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