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Dick Gregory: Legendary Comedian & Civil Rights Activist Passes Away at 84

Dick Gregory was hugely inspired by Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr, the leading civil activists of the century

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Dick Gregory
America's legendary comedian Dick Gregory. Wikimedia
  • Dick Gregory has passed away due to a heart attack at the age of 84
  • Gregory was known for his prolific stand-up comedy
  • He used his stage success to voice his anti-racist and anti-war stance

August 20, 2017: Dick Gregory became a popular name in the 1960s as a black comedian who was breaking down racial barriers in the United States.

On Saturday, the famous comedian and civil rights activist died in a Washington DC hospital aged 84. The legend’s death was announced by his son on social media and to the press through the comedian’s representative. Gregory was admitted to the hospital a week before due to bacterial infection, mentioned ANI.

Also Read: World Martin Luther King Jr. Day: Eight inspirational quotes from the champion of civil rights

Dick Gregory was brought up in a poor household that resided in St. Louis. However, he went on to become one of the first black comedians to be loved by a white audience. Further, the legendary comedian used this success and fame to voice concerns over racism and wars.

He received his first major break in 1961 when he got the opportunity to perform at the Playboy Club in Chicago. Although heckled by the audience, Dick Gregory maintained his calmness and went on to perform for hours. This was really a one-night performance for him, however, his great stand up won him two more months at the club.

This further led to his interview with Time Magazine as well as The Tonight Show.

Gregory’s talent led him to be equated with the that of Fred Allen and Will Rogers by the Vogue Magazine in 1962.

His sharp mind coupled with his popularity made him pursue political and civil rights activism. Gregory used his popular image to champion anti-racial movements.

The comedian advocated for feminism and anti-racism. He hoisted voice against the Americans going for war outside their nation’. He was beaten and bruised at social movements and protests.

In 1966, he sought for political office by running for Mayor of Chicago, but his campaign was largely unsuccessful.

Two years later in 1968, he ran for the US Presidency from Peace and Freedom Party. With 200,000 votes, Gregory lost.

Dick Gregory was hugely inspired by Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr, the leading civil activists of the century.

– Prepared by Saksham Narula of NewsGram. Twitter: @Saksham2394


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Student Project into Space, NASA Comes Up With Chicago Planetarium

As the NASA-owned, Northrop Grumann-developed Antares rocket successfully blasted off from the coast of Virginia on April 17, it wasn’t just making a resupply mission to the International Space Station.

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“Our main goal was to see if the ozone layer is getting thinner and by how much, and if there is different parts of the Earth’s atmosphere getting thinner because of the pollution and greenhouse gases, Pixabay

 

College student Fatima Guerra, 19, will be the first to admit, she’s into some really nerdy stuff.

“Like, up there nerdy.”

“Way up there nerdy,” she says. “All the way up into space.”

Guerra is an astronomer in training, involved since a high school internship with a small project at the Adler Planetarium, with big goals.

“Our main goal was to see if the ozone layer is getting thinner and by how much, and if there is different parts of the Earth’s atmosphere getting thinner because of the pollution and greenhouse gases,” she told VOA from the laboratory at the Adler where she often works.

FILE - Apollo 13 crew members Commander Captain James A. Lovell, Jr., right, and Lunar Module Pilot Fred W. Haise pose for a photo during a 40th Anniversary reunion of the moon mission at the Adler Planetarium, April 12, 2010, in Chicago.
Apollo 13 crew members Commander Captain James A. Lovell, Jr., right, and Lunar Module Pilot Fred W. Haise pose for a photo during a 40th Anniversary reunion of the moon mission at the Adler Planetarium, April 12, 2010, in Chicago. VOA

Coding ThinSat

Data that sheds light on those circumstances is gathered by a small electronic device called “ThinSat” designed to orbit the Earth. It is developed not by high-paid engineers and software programmers, but by Chicago-area students like Guerra.

“We focused on coding the different parts of the sensors that the ThinSat is composed of. So, we coded so that it can measure light intensity, pressure.”

“This stuff is very nerdy,” Jesus Garcia admits with a chuckle.

“What we hope to accomplish is look at Earth from space as if it was the very first exoplanet that we have. So, imagine that we are looking at the very first images from a very distant planet.”

As a systems engineer, Garcia oversees the work of the students developing ThinSat for the Adler’s Far Horizon’s Project, which he outlines “bring all types of students, volunteers and our staff to develop projects, engineering projects, that allow us to answer scientific questions.”

Garcia says the students he works with on the project cross national, racial and cultural divides to work toward a common goal.

“Here at the Adler, we have students who are minorities who have been faced with challenges of not having opportunities presented to them,” he said. “And here we are presenting a mission where they are collaborating with us scientists and engineers on our first mission that is going into space.”

Rocket carries project into space

As the NASA-owned, Northrop Grumann-developed Antares rocket successfully blasted off from the coast of Virginia on April 17, it wasn’t just making a resupply mission to the International Space Station.

On board was ThinSat, the culmination of work by many at the Adler, including Guerra, who joined the Far Horizons team as a high school requirement that ended up becoming much more.

“A requirement can become a life-changing opportunity, and you don’t even know it,” she told VOA. “It’s really exciting to see, or to know, especially, that my work is going to go up into space and help in the scientific world.”

Daughter of immigrants

It is also exciting for her parents, immigrants from Guatemala, who can boast that their daughter is one of the few who can claim to have built a satellite orbiting the Earth.

“I told them it might become a worldwide type of news, and I’m going to be a part of it. And they were really proud. And they were calling my family over there and saying, ‘She might be on TV.’ And it’s something they really feel a part of me about,” Guerra said.

Also Read: ‘Big Steps To Reduce Carbon Emission’ Apple Expects Cooperation With China on Clean Energy

Long after the data compiled by ThinSat is complete, Guerro will still have a place in history as a member of a team that put the first satellite developed by a private planetarium into space.

She says her friends don’t think that’s nerdy at all.

“It’s cool, because it’s interesting to see that something so nerdy is actually going to work, and is going to go up into something so important,” she said. (VOA)