More recently, his face appeared in newspapers across the country for his community action approach to investigate allegations behind the CIA’s connection with drugs in the African-American community. He camped out in dealer-ridden public parks and rallied community leaders to shut down head shops. He protested at CIA headquarters and was arrested.
From there, Gregory became a regular performer on Tonight Starring Jack Paar . He did so only after telling Paar that he wished to sit down and chat after his routine, making him the first African American comedian in the show’s history to do so.
"So this word 'nigger' was one of the most well-used words in America, particularly among black folks. And I said, `Well, let's pull it out the closet. Let's lay it out here. Let's deal with it. Let's dissect it.' Now the problem I have today is people call it the N-word. It should never be called the N-word. You see, how do you talk about a swastika by using another term?"
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Christian Gregory: “It wasn’t his heart. His blood vessels were damaged from starving himself to bring attention to what was going on in the world. […] We thank him for a life of sacrifice. We acknowledge the suffering and glory.”
The comic and civil rights legend was recently hospitalized for a urinary tract infection, according to his son, Christian. Dick later died from heart failure, according to his rep.
Actors Chris Tucker, Dick Gregory with Rev. Jesse Jackson at the Wreath-Laying Ceremony at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Washington, DC on January 20, 2013.
He was invited to perform on The Tonight Show in 1962, but Gregory said he wouldn't go unless he was able to sit down next to host Jack Paar after his routine and be interviewed. A black performer had never done that before.