Comedian and civil rights leader Dick Gregory rose to prominence during an era where barrier-breaking entertainers and civil rights leaders were capturing the nation’s attention— including those who didn’t want to see them. While his legacy was being built alongside icons like Martin Luther King, Jr., Richard Pryor, Malcolm X and Red Foxx, his brilliance still held its own.
On August 19, Gregory passed away from heart failure at 84 years old. His knack for fusing pointed commentary on race relations with sharp comedy has earned him an unrivaled legacy. For those on the younger spectrum who incidentally let Gregory’s significance pass them by, we’ve compiled a list of quotes to enlighten on his unparalleled genius.
'What happens to Black Folks today, happens to White Folks tomorrow.'
— #MissMisty (@MsMistyMarie) August 22, 2017
“I am really enjoying the new Martin Luther King Jr stamp – just think about all those White bigots, licking the backside of a Black man.”
“I waited at the counter of a White restaurant for eleven years. When they finally integrated, they didn’t have what I wanted.”
"I never learned hate at home, or shame. I had to go to school for that."
— Soledad O'Brien (@soledadobrien) August 21, 2017
“I never believed in Santa Claus because I knew no White dude would come into my neighborhood after dark.”
"I got a reputation as a funny man. And then I started to turn the jokes on them." ―Dick Gregory https://t.co/x8HjlHjOYy
— The New York Times (@nytimes) August 21, 2017
“You know why Madison Avenue advertising has never done well in Harlem? We’re the only ones who know what it means to be Brand X.”
“When I go through the airport and see White women walking through the airport barefooted, like athlete’s feet don’t exist, there’s something wrong.”