Nigger by Dick Gregory

I was 11 years old and i read the book Nigger by Dick Gregory the social activist and comedian who wrote about his life growing up poor and black in America. The influence this had on me was powerful and even though i was 11 i was inflamed and upset with the images of social injustice.  I remember in school in our class we were asked what book we were reading at the moment.I stood up and calmly said Nigger by Dick Gregory.The teacher was flustered. The year before where we were asked what job we would want when we grew up i stood up calmly and said Nazi hunter.
The year was 1964 the year Kennedy was assassinated and the Civil Rights movement was in full swing …i read as much as i could about the Deep South and the lives of the blacks in America and also about slavery.
I listened to Billie holiday singing Strange Fruit with it’s double meaning..”Strange fruit hanging from the tree ” meaning lynched black bodies. It was then  decided to save my money and run away and travel by bus to Mississippi and Alabama and take part in the Freedom Riders movement. I put away money carefully and lay awake at night dreaming of the day i would break away and have this adventure. I confided in my older brother who told my parents about my plans and that led to a confrontation and the confiscation of my money in a piggy bank.
That year my father started his record company and called the family together to say seriously that we all had to tighten our belts because times will be tough with starting the new company with little money.I retrieved my piggy bank and opened it up and startled everyone by emptying the contents on the kitchen table as hundreds of dollar bills tumbled out .I had a business of collecting bottles from the Italian construction workers in the area and was doing pretty well.
The book by Dick Gregory was in my consciousness through this period in my life and he planted seeds that have grown over the years and today he died .#dickgregory,#civilrights,#jonathondlipsin.com
 

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