Nigger ; An Autobiography by Dick Gregory with Robert Lipsyte – CULTURAL HERITAGE BOOKS
Nigger ; A Autobiography by Dick Gregory with Robert Lipsyte

Nigger ; An Autobiography by Dick Gregory with Robert Lipsyte

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New York : E.P. Dutton & Co., 1964. Second printing. Hardcover. 224 pages ; 23 cm. $4.95 dust jacket. Cigarette odor within the pages. Previous owner name on the front free endpaper. Lean to spine. No other markings within the pages. Binding is firm.


This is the story of Dick Gregory, welfare case, star athlete, hit comedian, front-line participant in the battle for Civil Rights.

He grew up in St. Louis, so poor that "home was a place to be only when all other places were closed." In high school and college he became a record-breaking track star. Early in his life he had learned to fight back with jokes rather than with his fists, and when a chance came to work as an entertainer, he took it. After a long struggle to gain recognition, he got his break: Chicago's Playboy Club, the Jack Paar Show, national reviews, success as one of the nation's top comedians.

But Dick Gregory was not content with success. The battle for Civil Rights was on and he had to be part of it. "l was scared to death. Making speeches, giving money, even going down South for a night or two at a time—that was one thing. But getting out on those streets and marching against bullets and dogs and water hoses and cattle prods...

"My own life started spinning around in my mind and my stomach turned over and I thought about St. Louis and Momma and Richard, running off to buy himself a dinner of a Twinkie Cupcake and a bottle of Pepsi Cola, little Richard whose Daddy was so broken by the system that he ran away and came back just to take the rent money out of the jar in the kitchen. Goddamn, we're always running and hiding, and then I thought about an old man whose wife had died, and about Clyde Kennard, and James Meredith. They didn't run away. "There was a familiar dry taste in my mouth, and that old hot water was seeping into a cold body and my room was the grandstand of the biggest stadium in the world — America — and the race was for survival and the monster said GO."

And now Dick Gregory knows what he wants: To be an American citizen. First class.

"Those of us who weren't destroyed got stronger, got calluses on our souls. And now we're ready to change a system, a system where a white man can destroy a black man with a single word — nigger."

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