The first time I came across the name of the Comedic genius; Dick Gregory, I was 12 years old. There were boxes of Gregory’s material: books and cassettes, everywhere. When I first pressed play on one of those cassettes his words were harsh…I couldn’t exactly understand what he was saying. The expresses and language he used seemed foreign to me. So, I put them back in the boxes where I found them. Some years later, I came across those tapes again…much more mature, those words seemed more understandable and humorous as I listened. In some ways, I couldn’t help but laugh at the truth in order not to be engulfed by rage, but even after…his words stayed embedded in my mind -keeping me focused on the issue within the laughter.
A brief encounter of Dick’s Journey:
Richard Claxton Gregory was born on October 12, 1932, in St. Louis Missouri he had a knack for making people laugh, Gregory began performing in local small clubs until one evening, Hugh Hefner booked him at the Chicago Playboy Club in the place of another well know comedic. This was enough to ignite his career -transforming him into an amazing civil rights activist, who delivered straightforward punch lines of racial injustice in a way that allowed the laughter of it…to soothe the angry in it.
As I type his journey, I remembered back to one of those books I found of Gregory’s entitled; “Nigger: An autobiography by Dick Gregory”. Lodge within those pages, he painted a vivid image of his early years; no money and no father while living in a world where society made him feel less than a man because of the color of his skin. Gregory often time mentions his mother within the book –telling her strength and encourage; how she sacrificed –working herself to death…determined to provide for her children, and how she positively impacted his life whenever he had to face adversities.
Gregory: a poor boy, a track star, a famous comedian, an author, an entrepreneur, and an activist. Through laughter; he spoke of true circumstances, through writing; he gave raw accounts of hatred, and through activism; he gave us hope.
Photos are taken from the Internet
Reading his material and learning more about his journey has encouraged me to see the issues at hand, to fight for my right, and to quench the fierce of hate by smiling a little bit more at my adversaries.