Born October 12, 1932 in St. Louis Missouri
Civil rights activist, author, and comedian
Richard Claxton “Dick” Gregory, comedian and civil rights activist whose social satire changed the way White Americans perceived African American comedians since he first performed in public.
After a childhood of poverty in St. Louis, Gregory attended college on a track scholarship and later served two years in the army. In the middle 1950s he concentrated on finding work as a comedian, always having had, as he says, "a good rap." He spent several years working occasional gigs as master of ceremonies at Chicago area black night clubs, alternating his work with periods as a car washer and post office employee. In 1958, he opened his own nightclub, the Apex Club, in Robbins, Illinois, but the club soon failed, leaving Gregory in debt. A turning point came in late 1959 when he rented the Roberts Show Club in Chicago and organized a party for the Pan American Games teams. The success of the party and of Gregory's role as its master of ceremonies convinced the owner of the club to hire Gregory as the regular master of ceremonies. But when the job ended a year later, Gregory was unemployed and broke once again. It was then that he got the one-night job at the Playboy Club that changed his life.
Gregory in 1964
Encouraged by the benefits of his vegetarian lifestyle, Gregory began in the 1970s to explore other areas of health care and nutrition. He soon became interested in fasting and marathon running, activities he now practices as a personal witness to call attention to social issues. He has fasted a number of times to publicize the world hunger problem, to draw attention to the nation's drug abuse epidemic, and to emphasize the plight of the American Indians. Gregory has engaged in marathon runs for similar reasons, running from Chicago to Washington, DC, for example, to urge that action be taken by the government to ease world famine.VIDEO CLIPS
• Dick Gregory's Wikipedia Page
• Roundtable Discussion with Dick Gregory on black humor
URL (Click to bookmark): http://www.visionaryproject.org/gregorydick