Richard Claxton Gregory (October 12, 1932 – August 19, 2017) was an African-American comedian, civil rights activist, social critic, writer, entrepreneur, conspiracy theorist, and occasional actor. During the turbulent 1960s, Gregory became a pioneer in stand-up comedy for his "no-holds-barred" sets, in which he mocked bigotry and racism. He performed primarily to black audiences at segregated clubs until 1961, when he became the first black comedian to successfully cross over to white audiences, appearing on television and putting out comedy record albums.
Gregory was at the forefront of political activism in the 1960s, when he protested the Vietnam War and racial injustice. He was arrested multiple times and went on many hunger strikes. He later became a speaker and author, primarily promoting spirituality.
Gregory died of heart failure at a Washington, D.C., hospital at age 84 in August 2017.
- I have experienced personally over the past few years how a purity of diet and thought are interrelated. And when Americans become truly concerned with the purity of the food that enters their own personal systems, when they learn to eat properly, we can expect to see profound changes effected in the social and political system of this nation. The two systems are inseparable. Dick Gregory's Political Primer (Harper & Row, 1972), p. 262.
- Dick Gregory's Natural Diet for Folks Who Eat: Cookin' with Mother Nature, edited by James R. McGraw with Alvenia M. Fulton (New York: Harper & Row, 1973)The philosophy of nonviolence, which I learned from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., during my involvement in the civil rights movement was first responsible for my change in diet. I became a vegetarian in 1965. … Under the leadership of Dr. King I became totally committed to nonviolence, and I was convinced that nonviolence meant opposition to killing in any form. I felt the commandment “Thou shalt not kill” applied to human beings not only in their dealings with each other—war, lynching, assassination, murder and the like—but in their practice of killing animals for food or sport. Animals and humans suffer and die alike. Violence causes the same pain, the same spilling of blood, the same stench of death, the same arrogant, cruel and brutal taking of life.pp. 15-16
I never learned hate at home, or shame. I had to go to school for that.
I never believed in Santa Claus because I knew no white dude would come into my neighborhood after dark.
Hell hath no fury like a liberal scorned.
If they took all the drugs, nicotine, alcohol and caffeine off the market for six days, they'd have to bring out the tanks to control you.
Political promises are much like marriage vows. They are made at the beginning of the relationship between candidate and voter, but are quickly forgotten.
And we love to dance, especially that new one called the Civil War Twist. The Northern part of you stands still while the Southern part tries to secede.
In most places in the country, voting is looked upon as a right and a duty, but in Chicago it's a sport.
When you have a good mother and no father, God kind of sits in. It's not enough, but it helps.
Just being a Negro doesn't qualify you to understand the race situation any more than being sick makes you an expert on medicine.
I wouldn't mind paying taxes - if I knew they were going to a friendly country.
People keep telling me about the white race and the black race - and it really doesn't make sense. I played Miami, met a fellow two shades darker than me - and his name was Ginsberg! Took my place in two sit-in demonstrations - nobody knew the difference. The he tried for a third lunch counter and blew the whole bit... asked for blintzes.
The NAACP is a wonderful organization. Belong to it myself. But do you realize if tomorrow morning we had complete integration, all them cats would be out of work?
To a heckler: Why do you heckle me? You want excitement? Go down to the NAACP and ask for the white washroom.
For a black man, there's no difference between the North and the South. In the South, they don't mind how close I get, as long as I don't get too big. In the North, they don't mind how big I get, as long as I don't get too close.
A Klaner (KKK) is a cat who gets out of bed in the middle of the night and takes his sheet with him.
[on Lenny Bruce] This guy is the eighth wonder of the world. You have to go back to Mark Twain to find anything remotely like him. And if they don't kill him or throw him in jail, he's liable to shake up the whole country.
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