Legendary comedian and activist Dick Gregory gives a crash course in the people and events of U.S. history that we didn’t learn, or didn’t learn enough of—specifically, the black parts. Interwoven throughout are his own theories on unilluminated history, as well as continual calls to black Americans to stand up and take possession of their history and themselves. No matter your background, you owe it to yourself to pick up this book, learn something, and pay tribute to this late, great American.— Jocelyn
Dick Gregory has been an unsparing and incisive cultural force for more than fifty years: a friend of such luminaries as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Medgar Evers, Gregory is an unrelenting, lifelong activist against social injustice, whether he was marching in Selma during the Civil Rights movement or organizing student demonstrations to protest the Vietnam War, participating in rallies for Native American and feminist rights or fighting apartheid in South Africa.
Known as much for his comedic achievements—as an actor, author, and social critic—as for his activism, Gregory is the forebearer of today's new generation of black comics, including W. Kamu Bell and Trevor Noah. But Gregory has always kept it indisputably real when discussing race in America, fearlessly lacing laughter with controversial truths in a manner that is inimitable his own.
Now, in Defining Moments in Black History, Gregory charts the empowering yet often obscured past of the African American experience. In his unapologetically candid voice, he moves from African ancestry and surviving the middle passage to modern-day protests, A captivating journey through time, this collection of provocative essays explores historical movements such as the Great Migration and the Harlem Renaissance, as well as cultural touchstones, among them Marian Anderson's performance on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and Billie Holiday's haunting delivery of "Strange Fruit."
Here is an essential, unique, no-holds-barred history lesson, sure to provoke, enlighten, uplift, and entertain—from one our greatest legends.
Richard “Dick” Claxton Gregory was an African American comedian, civil rights activist, and cultural icon who first performed in public in the 1950s. He was on Comedy Central’s list of “100 Greatest Stand-Ups” and was the author of fourteen books, most notably the bestselling classic Nigger: An Autobiography. A hilariously authentic wisecracker and passionate fighter for justice, Gregory is considered one of the most prized comedians of our time. He and his beloved wife, Lil, have ten kids.