Dick Gregory was 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 was the forebearer of today’s new generation of black comics, including Larry Wilmore, W. Kamau Bell, and Trevor Noah. But Gregory always kept it indisputably real when discussing race in America, fearlessly lacing laughter with controversial truths in a manner that is inimitably 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 of our greatest living legends.