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Dick Gregory, comedian and civil rights activist, died Saturday at 84
21 Agosto 2017, 09:30 | Martinez Canez
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Gregory was admitted a week ago for symptoms of heart failure, interrupting an East Coast comedy tour. "Immeasurable generational sacrifice. A transformative blockbuster comedian who obliterated the color line", Christian Gregorywrote of his father the day after his death.
Ava DuVernay: "You taught us and loved us. He taught us how to live", he tweeted.
Other notable books by Gregory include his controversial 1963 tome Nigger: An Autobiography, From the Back of the Bus and Dick Gregory's Natural Diet for Folks Who Eat: Cookin' With Mother Nature, which he wrote after becoming a vegetarian.
Gregory performed in the country's top clubs in the early 1960s and was not shy about confronting his white audiences with the realities of racism.
The author was a pioneer, one who skillfully tackled racial issues - that was largely plaguing the United States - on the cusp of the civil rights movement and beyond. Survived by his wife of over 50 years, Lillian, and 10 children, Dick Gregory's life spanned the Depression to Barack Obama's election as America's first black President and beyond. His audience, mostly white Southern businessmen, heckled him with racist gibes, but he stuck it out for hours and left them howling. "It wasn't a law, it was an unwritten law until Hugh Hefner broke that law with me". "Out of their mind!"
He would later hold long fasts and would go without solid food for weeks to draw attention to a wide range of causes, including Middle East peace, police brutality, the Equal Rights Amendment for women, and animal rights - actions that would hurt his comedy career. Actor Joe Morton explored the ups and downs of Gregory's stand up career in the one-man show "Turn Me Loose", which ran in NY a year ago.
Gregoryexplained: "And then the phone rang again".
He also famously said: 'I never learned hate at home, or shame. I came in, did my act, went to sit on the couch.
After the Tonight Show appearance, Gregory noted that his salary jumped from $250 for seven nights of work (three shows a night) at the Playboy Club to $5,000 a night. As a result, he was beaten and jailed on several occasions for participating in civil protests, in which he employed a nonviolent approach inspired by his admiration for Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. "I chose to be an agitator. So I'm like, 'Why, all at a sudden, are you condemning homosexuality, like you didn't know what was going on under your noses all that time?'". In 1968, he also ran for US president as a write-in candidate with the Freedom and Peace Party during the electoral showdown between Hubert H. Humphrey and Richard Nixon.
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