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Author Ed Gray on Growing Up In Detroit Projects and Rise to Fame

Humble beginnings like growing up in a housing project in Detroit, might lay the groundwork for a young African American man to rationalize a life of under achievement and a lack of accomplishment. Or it could work to the contrary and compel a young man to excel, defy the odds, determine his destiny and elevate his station in life. Ed Gray, author of 40 Days to a Life of G.O.L.D., hails from Detroit’s Herman Gardens Housing Projects, and in spite of (or because of), has positioned himself to inspire others to living a life of quality.

Once labeled a slow learner by an elementary school teacher, Gray ultimately excelled academically and went on to succeed his role model, the world renowned motivational speaker Les Brown, in his nationally acclaimed radio show, “Power Minutes” which airs on 80 radio stations around the country.

We spent time in the studio with the Wayne State alum and former Michigan Chronicle and Detroit News columnist to talk about the choices he‘s made. –roz edward

The learning challenges he faced as child …

When I was a kid I went to St. Christopher, a school which was right there on the edge of the projects, but it was predominantly white. A nun there used me as [to embarrass] one of my white classmates who was having  difficulty with reading, and she said to him, “Eddie is reading at Level Three — and he’s black.” And she yelled at him, “Are you going to let a black child pass you by?” When she said that something entered me that held me back for a long time.

How he overcame them …

As a kid growing up, I began going to resale bookshops and get books like Plato: The Republic and I started studying Shakespeare. I got teased because of it … But the way I see it, my thirst for knowledge is really my thirst for God, and even at an early age I had a thirst for God. The thing about knowledge is that when you get it, you’re able to put all of the composite pieces together. I learned to place myself through theater in someone else’s life and see how they see. I learned to get outside of myself

What he’s working on now …

The book that I have just finished and is scheduled to come out the day after Thanksgiving is 21 Days to Change Your Life. The impetus behind this book started when I was on book tour for my fist book and I encountered racism. I was in Barnes and Nobles and where they place their bookstores the demographic is mostly white. I was in Cincinatti and a white guy … told me he liked the book but that he didn’t know if he was ready to read a black author. I was the lead author for book release … that stung. So I initially I titled the book R.A.C.I.S.M., Reckless Aversions Causing Ignorance Stagnating Mankind. … and it evolved from there.


  1. Eddieandre on September 13, 2011 at 12:37 pm

    I can’t wait to read this book Ed grey is a very interesting person loved his book 40 days to a life of gold

  2. Theresa Smith on September 13, 2011 at 2:13 pm

    Your book is AWESOME! Great story of growing up in Detroit. Real proud of you. 

  3. Pk5723 on September 14, 2011 at 3:31 am

    I had an opportunity to read Ed Gray’s book, 40 Days to a Life of Gold.  I loved it and refer to it often.  I look forward to reading this next one.  

  4. Pk5723 on September 14, 2011 at 3:31 am

    I had an opportunity to read Ed Gray’s book, 40 Days to a Life of Gold.  I loved it and refer to it often.  I look forward to reading this next one.  

  5. Orielia Valley on September 14, 2011 at 1:14 pm

    Ed is a phenomenal presence.  I met him 10 years ago, and he changed how I look at life.  During our friendship, I have watched him evolve.  Congratulations to you my friend!!

  6. Gregg Hinthorn on September 18, 2011 at 8:05 pm

    Good article.