Dick Gregory
(1932 — 2017)


As remembered by his son Christian Gregory in a published obituary
August 20, 2017

I was probably 25 years old before I realized my father called many people champ. I was clearly paying attention yet I never heard it other than when he was calling me. One of his finest gifts was the ability to make you sit up and pay attention. For a week, I watched my father cause some of the sharpest medical minds to sit up and pay attention. What began a little over a week ago as a simple Urinary Tract Infection wrecked havoc on my father's slim frame.

Events were set in motion that ultimately proved to be too much. A bifurcated thoracic aortic aneurysm ultimately was too big a blow. For a lifetime, my father took all the hits, however, this hit was too much. A life heavily sacrificed had ultimately taken its toll. Years of severe fasting, not for health but for social change, had damaged his vasculature system long ago. He always reminded us, many of his fasts were not about his personal health but an attempt to heal the world."

He added, "From comedy to civil rights to a life dedicated to equality, he never waned. Immeasurable generational sacrifice. A transformative blockbuster comedian who obliterated the color line. He quickly realized that the inequities and travesties of life were no laughing matter. There is no question humanity is better for it, we will allow his legendary history to stand for itself. Generations will delve into his sacrifice, comedic genius, focus and aptitude. For now, we simply want to reflect on his Service and Grace. Civil Rights, Women's Rights, Children's Rights, Human Rights, Disabled Rights, Animal Rights. Dick Gregory's DNA is virtually on every movement for fairness and equality for all livings things on this planet.

He was rarely one to rest and never one to stop championing for peace. Hopefully, now he may find some semblance of them both."


As remembered by Bruce Hartford
August 20, 2017

I didn't always agree with everything Dick Gregory said and did, but he always showed up when it counted and he wasn't afraid to take a stand. He put his body on the line like all the rest of us and he did so without airs of celebrity. Dick Gregory ¡Presente!


As remembered by Bob Zellner
August 20, 2017

Dick Gregory was a SNCC and movement person in every sense of the word. We depended on prayer, singing and laughter to see us through the terrors. Gregory made me laugh right up to the end. He spent a lot of time in Selma in the last few years and I saw him every Bloody Sunday.

Two years ago I was with David Domke's student Pilgrimage from Washington state, when we linked up with John Lewis's Faith and Politics Congressional delegation. President Obama was about to speak before marching over the Edmond Pettus Bridge. Dick Gregory was standing with Jesse Jackson just outside the President's roped off area when I introduce him to Mayor Adam O'Neal from Belhaven, NC.

Gregory said to me, "What you doing in there with Mr. President when me and Jesse are out here?"

I laughed and replied, "I wanted you to meet Mayor Adam O'Neal, he is the white..." "I can see that he's white," Dick interjected. "...Republican Mayor of Belhaven, NC."

"Great," Gregory shouted, "Mr. Mayor we need some help!" Adam was thrilled to meet Mr. Gregory and Jesse.

"What kinda help ya'll need?" Gregory leaned over and in a stage whisper pleaded, "We need help killing all the white people." LoL.

Dick Gregory helped SNCC early on when he got Ivanhoe Donaldson to drive eighteen wheeler truck loads of medicine and frozen turkey to Tent City in the Delta when the sharecroppers were evicted for trying to vote.

Great memories of the Great Dick Gregory.


As remembered by Janet Dewart Bell
August 20, 2017

I loved Dick Gregory. He once told me, "They like everything about us, but us." This quote was from about 15 years ago when we were talking with Cathy Hughes and others at the Congressional Black Caucus.

I first met Mr. Gregory when I was 15, when I attended a national NAACP convention as the president of my NAACP Youth Chapter in my home town of Erie, Pennsylvania. He was overweight and chain smoking. Then he reinvented his life and narrative.

I believe all his children graduated from college. Later, when I was the Director of Communications at the National Urban League, I became better acquainted with his philanthropy of the League and other civil and human rights organizations.

May he rest in peace.


As remembered by Bruce Smith
August 20, 2017

Although I remember participating in several events in DC and in Georgia in which Dick Gregory played a leading role, I best remember his campaign for President in 1968. While I was the SSOC organizer in Virginia at that time, and we were focused on supporting striking prisoners at the VA Penitentiary, I also managed to help get Dick Gregory on the ballot for President on the Peace and Freedom Party Ticket that summer.

So, one day, after mid-day picketing the prison a few blocks away, I was greeted in front of our office, "The Liberated Area", by FBI agents who wanted to talk with me about the campaign. Why? Along with many other Peace and Freedom Party activists, we had received and handed out a few hundred Dick Gregory for President dollars. They were campaign flyers, the same shape and color as dollar bills, but bearing the image of Dick Gregory on one side and "The Black House" on the other. The FBI was concerned because the bills fit nicely into dollar bill changers that were appearing in laundromats, etc all around the Fan District of Richmond where we were located. And the Dick Gregory dollars apparently worked just fine in the dollar bill changing machines. So the Feds wanted any and all Dick Gregory dollars we had on hand, but we had given all of them away already. I hope somebody kept some, but I surely didn't. The Dick Gregory dollars were a perfect combination of humor and resistance to the atrocities of racism and the war in Vietnam. Sure wish we'd had more.


As remembered by Joanne Gavin
August 21, 2017

This isn't a new story. It has long been on this CRMvet website. But when I heard of Bro. Gregory's passing, the whole episode came back to me very vividly. Especially after seeing a picture in some ot the network news coverage of Dick with Gloria Richardson and Malcolm:

Two Cambridge stories (involving Stokely and Dick Gregory)


As remembered by Gloria Richardson Dandridge
August 21, 2017

Gregory was in and out of Cambridge in '63. For about a month. There was a pix on the internet until this year. At the Easton airport coming in from NYC, me, him, General Gelston, Branch Rickey (estate in Easton); we were all arranging a meeting at Rickey's of the CEO's of Banking streams in Maryland and CNAC and an affair by Gregory at the Elk's home. The bankers only offered money for recreation for teenagers, so it did not work out since that was not on our list of demands. They could have used their power for some of our demands.

Gregory had chartered a plane to go to and from a Malcolm meeting in Harlem. He stayed at my uncle's house for ten days about.

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