Larry Gray was born in the small town of Lawton, West Virginia, in 1952. At the age of seven, Gray and his family moved to Virginia Beach, where he went to elementary and high school. His upbringing was filled with church and sports. He began working at the age of twelve by helping the school janitor. Although he encountered segregation of public facilities, he did not encounter much violent racism or discrimination. After graduating from First Colonial High School, Gray attended Norfolk State for a short period. In an effort to save up money to attend Virginia Tech, he joined the Army and fell in love with aviation. Gray did tours in Korea, Germany and eventually retired from the army after a distinguished service. As a supporter of civil rights, Gray hopes to end racism and discrimination, which he recognizes as on-going.