Read Dick Gregory’s old jokes and you’ll see why they still resonate decades later – The Denver Post

The images that have graced Dick Gregorys obituaries show the comic-turned-activist with a long white beard and a weathered face, educating crowds about the killing of Trayvon Martin or police brutality.

But before his transformation into an activist, Gregory was a man on a stage in front of a sometimes-hostile crowd, making acerbic, insightful jokes about race, segregation and the civil rights movement that still resonate half a century later.

Gregory died Saturday at age 84. The New York Times called him a precursor to comedians such as Richard Pryor, who also used humor to slice through cultural hypocrisies and abject racism.

And Gregorys jokes lingered, as John Legend, who produced a one-man play on Gregorys life, told the Boston Globe:

It sounds like hes aware of whats happening now even though they were written so long ago.

People are still reflecting on some of his insightful punchlines, including:

On Jim Crow laws:

I waited at the counter of a white restaurant for eleven years. When they finally integrated, they didnt have what I wanted.

On Willie Mays, the Major League Baseball player who was at times a target of racism:

You know I still feel sorry for Willie. I hate to see any baseball player having trouble. Thats a great sport. That is the only sport in the world where a Negro can shake a stick at a white man and wont start no riot.

On how people learn to hate:

I never learned hate at home, or shame. I had to go to school for that.

On the KKK:

A Klanner (KKK) is a cat who gets out of bed in the middle of the night and takes his sheet with him.

On bad neighborhoods:

I never believed in Santa Claus because I knew no white dude would come into my neighborhood after dark.

Originally posted here:

Read Dick Gregory’s old jokes and you’ll see why they still resonate decades later – The Denver Post

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