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.
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