October 12


October 12, 1932 Richard Claxton “Dick” Gregory, comedian, social activist and entrepreneur, was born in St. Louis, Missouri. Gregory earned a track scholarship to Southern Illinois University, but left without a degree because he felt that the university “didn’t want me to study, they wanted me to run.” In 1954, he was drafted into the United States Army where he got his start in comedy, winning several army talent shows. Gregory drew on current events, especially racial issues, for much of his social satire. Around the early 1960s he hit the comedy scene when he replaced a white comedian at the Chicago’s Playboy Club, Gregory joked about racial tensions and advocated in the struggle for civil rights, activism against the Vietnam War, economic reform, and anti-drug issues. His 1964 autobiography, “Nigger,” has sold more than 10 million copies. In 1984, he founded Health Enterprises, Inc., a company that distributed weight loss products, and in 1985 he introduced the Slim-Safe Bahamian Diet, a powdered diet mix. Gregory has published several books, including “No More Lies: The Myth and the Reality of American History” (1997) and “Callus on My Soul: A Memoir” (2003).


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