Before Richard Pryor and Dave Chappelle, Steve Harvey and Chris Rock, there was Dick Gregory. He was one of the first to use comedy as a tool to wake up people about the social and political ills that plague our society. In addition to being a comic, Gregory is also a Civil Rights and social activist (he marched with Dr. King), a weight-loss and nutrition guru, and entrepreneur. Nigger is his autobiography, which sold more than a million copies.
: Below is an excerpt from the book. Here’s the context: Martin Luther King Jr had a dream in August 1963. A few weeks later a black Church in Alabama was bombed and 4 Little Girls died. Dick Gregory went to Alabama… mad. He writes, “I had always gone down south scared. But in September, when I went down to Alabama, Whitey had a mad Negro on his hands.”
He walked into a Church that had been tear-gassed a few days before and got up on stage in front of a crowd of scared Negroes. They needed courage. The front rows of the Church were filled with policemen pretending to be newspaper reporters and taking notes. He told that audience how surprised he was to see a dumb southern cop who knew how to write. The crowd got nervous. They had never heard such talk in front of a white man before.
Here is some of what he said that night. The clear logic is brilliant (and funny) and the end result from the crowd filled me with joy. Jesus’ words are so true; truth really does set people free: