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Dick Gregory

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Information about Dick Gregory

Profile image of Dick Gregory

Profession

Category:
CivicMakers
EntertainmentMakers
Occupation(s):
Social Activist
Comedian

Favorites

Favorite Color:
None
Favorite Food:
None
Favorite Time of Year:
Summer
Favorite Vacation Spot:
None
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
10/12/1932
Birth Location:
St. Louis, Missouri

Profession

Category:
CivicMakers
EntertainmentMakers
Occupation(s):
Social Activist
Comedian

Favorites

Favorite Color:
None
Favorite Food:
None
Favorite Time of Year:
Summer
Favorite Vacation Spot:
None
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
10/12/1932
Birth Location:
St. Louis
See how Dick Gregory is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Comedian and social activist Dick Gregory’s career spanned four decades. Gregory was born Richard Claxton Gregory on October 12, 1932, in St. Louis, Missouri. A product of humble beginnings, Gregory relied on his exceptional running skills at Sumner High School to eventually earn him a track scholarship at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. While attending Southern Illinois University Carbondale, Gregory set records as a half-mile and mile runner.

Gregory’s college education was put on hold when he was drafted into the United States Army. It was in the army that Gregory first performed as a stand up comedian, entering and winning several U.S. Army talent shows. After his military service ended, Gregory worked at the United States Post Office by day, and by night performed as a comedian in several small black nightclubs.

In 1961, Gregory was hired by adult magazine mogul Hugh Hefner to work at the Chicago Playboy Club. Hefner was impressed by Gregory’s ability to perform successfully for a white audience. Soon after, Gregory received national acclaim, and in 1964 released an autobiography entitled Nigger, which sold seven million copies.

In the mid-1960s, Gregory became increasingly involved in the Civil Rights Movement and spoke out against the war in Vietnam and government policy. In 1967, he decided to run against Mayor Richard Daley in Chicago. Though unsuccessful, Gregory pursued higher political positions and ran for President of the United States in 1968 as a write-in candidate for the Freedom and Peace Party. Gregory was eventually defeated, but efforts landed him on the list of President Nixon’s political opponents; his experiences in the political arena inspired Gregory to write a book entitled, Write Me In.

Throughout the 1980s, Gregory was principally known for his strong voice in the health food industry. Seen as a nutrition guru, Gregory advocated diets consisting of raw fruits and vegetables. Gregory developed a beverage called the Bahamian Diet Nutrition Drink, and advertised the product on television. In 2005, during the last stages of the Michael Jackson trial, Gregory was invited by Jackson’s father to advise him on his health.

In 2004 Gregory was listed as number eighty-one on Comedy Central’s list of the 100 Greatest Stand-Up Comedians of All Time; has also his own star on the St. Louis Walk of Fame.

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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Dick Gregory's interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Dick Gregory lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Dick Gregory describes his parents' family backgrounds
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Dick Gregory remembers the John Marshall School in St. Louis, Missouri
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Dick Gregory talks about his early understanding of race
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Dick Gregory describes his community in St. Louis, Missouri
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Dick Gregory talks about his early perceptions of Mississippi
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Dick Gregory talks about color discrimination within the black community
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Dick Gregory remembers Charles H. Sumner High School in St. Louis, Missouri
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Dick Gregory talks about the Black Wall Street in Tulsa, Oklahoma
  • Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Dick Gregory talks about the achievements of the Civil Rights Movement
  • Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Dick Gregory recalls his experiences at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Illinois
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Dick Gregory remembers a neighbor from his youth
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Dick Gregory shares his philosophy about African American traditions
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Dick Gregory talks about the negative impact of war on black soldiers
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Dick Gregory recalls his commencement address at Harvard University
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Dick Gregory talks about the legacy of the Buffalo Soldiers
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Dick Gregory recalls his social research projects
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Dick Gregory talks about the repercussions of addiction
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Dick Gregory describes the plot of the movie 'Ragtime'
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Dick Gregory talks about his experiences at Charles H. Sumner High School in St. Louis, Missouri
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Dick Gregory talks about the portrayal of African Americans in film
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Dick Gregory talks about his early education
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Dick Gregory describes Charles H. Sumner High School in St. Louis, Missouri
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Dick Gregory describes his impoverished upbringing
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Dick Gregory talks about his teachers at Charles H. Sumner High School
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Dick Gregory remembers the Charles Turner Open Air School in St. Louis, Missouri
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Dick Gregory remembers joining the track team at Charles H. Sumner High School
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Dick Gregory recalls his success on the track team at Charles H. Sumner High School
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Dick Gregory remembers his exclusion from track and field records
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Dick Gregory recalls his advocacy for the integration of high school sports teams
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Dick Gregory remembers the first integrated track tournament in Missouri
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Dick Gregory describes his first impression of Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Illinois
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Dick Gregory remembers a confrontation with his history professor
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Dick Gregory talks about his activism at Southern Illinois University
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Dick Gregory describes his role at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Illinois
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Dick Gregory recalls his efforts to integrate Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Illinois
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Dick Gregory recalls joining the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Dick Gregory recalls advocating for the integration of women's dormitories
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Dick Gregory recalls being named the athlete of the year at Southern Illinois University
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Dick Gregory remembers homecoming at Southern Illinois University
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Dick Gregory recalls voting to raise tuition at Southern Illinois University
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Dick Gregory talks about the discrimination against African American athletes
  • Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Dick Gregory remembers Malcolm X, pt. 1
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Dick Gregory remembers Malcolm X, pt. 2
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Dick Gregory recalls being drafted into the U.S. Army
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Dick Gregory talks about the changes in social norms
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Dick Gregory talks about his understanding of white supremacy
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Dick Gregory remembers the denial of medical care to African Americans
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Dick Gregory describes his stand-up comedy routine in the U.S. Army
  • Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Dick Gregory recalls his investigation of accidents involving black soldiers, pt. 1
  • Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Dick Gregory recalls his investigation of accidents involving black soldiers, pt. 2
  • Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Dick Gregory recalls the start of his comedy career in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Dick Gregory talks about his favorite comedians
  • Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Dick Gregory recalls his early performances at comedy clubs
  • Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Dick Gregory remembers a reporter from The New York Times
  • Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Dick Gregory recalls meeting his wife
  • Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Dick Gregory talks about settling with his wife in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Dick Gregory remembers the murder of James Byrd, Jr.
  • Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Dick Gregory reflects upon popular African American culture
  • Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Dick Gregory shares his views on Christianity
  • Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Dick Gregory talks about police brutality
  • Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Dick Gregory remembers the leaders of the Civil Rights Movement
  • Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Dick Gregory talks about the importance of African American history
  • Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Dick Gregory remembers Malcolm X and Alex Haley
  • Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Dick Gregory talks about the death of Ron Brown
  • Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Dick Gregory recalls integrating a prison in Baltimore, Maryland
  • Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Dick Gregory remembers Margaret Walker
  • Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Dick Gregory talks about the history of the Tuskegee Institute
  • Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Dick Gregory remembers John Wayne and Stepin Fetchit
  • Tape: 8 Story: 9 - Dick Gregory talks about his comedy albums
  • Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Dick Gregory recalls running for president of the United States
  • Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Dick Gregory talks about the number of black men in prison
  • Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Dick Gregory shares his views on the critiques of urban violence
  • Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Dick Gregory talks about the 1968 Democratic National Convention
  • Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Dick Gregory describes his autobiography, 'Nigger'
  • Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Dick Gregory talks about Mark Twain's portrayal of African Americans
  • Tape: 9 Story: 7 - Dick Gregory talks about the O.J. Simpson trial
  • Tape: 9 Story: 8 - Dick Gregory reflects upon the use of derogatory language
  • Tape: 9 Story: 9 - Dick Gregory talks about Albert J. Lingo
  • Tape: 9 Story: 10 - Dick Gregory describes his criticism of the NAACP
  • Tape: 10 Story: 1 - Dick Gregory talks about the movie 'Children of the Struggle'
  • Tape: 10 Story: 2 - Dick Gregory recalls his experiences as a civil rights protestor in the South
  • Tape: 10 Story: 3 - Dick Gregory remembers the assassination of Medgar Evers
  • Tape: 10 Story: 4 - Dick Gregory describes his investigation into the assassination of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., pt. 1
  • Tape: 10 Story: 5 - Dick Gregory describes his investigation into the assassination of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., pt. 2
  • Tape: 10 Story: 6 - Dick Gregory talks about James Earl Ray, pt. 1
  • Tape: 10 Story: 7 - Dick Gregory talks about James Earl Ray, pt. 2
  • Tape: 10 Story: 8 - Dick Gregory describes the witnesses of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assassination, pt. 1
  • Tape: 11 Story: 1 - Dick Gregory describes the witnesses of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assassination, pt. 2
  • Tape: 11 Story: 2 - Dick Gregory describes the witnesses of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assassination, pt. 3
  • Tape: 11 Story: 3 - Dick Gregory describes the Slim Safe Bahamian Diet
  • Tape: 11 Story: 4 - Dick Gregory recalls travelling to Ethiopia
  • Tape: 11 Story: 5 - Dick Gregory describes his daughter, Michele Gregory
  • Tape: 11 Story: 6 - Dick Gregory talks about the importance of historically black colleges
  • Tape: 11 Story: 7 - Dick Gregory talks about his daughters' education
  • Tape: 11 Story: 8 - Dick Gregory describes his son, Greg Gregory
  • Tape: 11 Story: 9 - Dick Gregory describes his daughter, Miss Gregory
  • Tape: 12 Story: 1 - Dick Gregory describes his daughters' careers
  • Tape: 12 Story: 2 - Dick Gregory talks about his son, Yohance Gregory, pt. 1
  • Tape: 12 Story: 3 - Dick Gregory talks about his son, Yohance Gregory, pt. 2
  • Tape: 12 Story: 4 - Dick Gregory describes his son, Christian Gregory
  • Tape: 12 Story: 5 - Dick Gregory reflects upon his life, pt. 1
  • Tape: 12 Story: 6 - Dick Gregory reflects upon his life, pt. 2
  • Tape: 12 Story: 7 - Dick Gregory describes his religious philosophy
  • Tape: 12 Story: 8 - Dick Gregory remembers a psychic from his youth
  • Tape: 12 Story: 9 - Dick Gregory recalls performing at Roberts Show Club in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 13 Story: 1 - Dick Gregory recalls performing at the Playboy Club in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 13 Story: 2 - Dick Gregory reflects upon his legacy as an activist
  • Tape: 13 Story: 3 - Dick Gregory reflects upon the legacy of the Pullman porters