256 pgs. | $24.99 hardcover
As a white woman living in the Midwest, I’m afforded a great deal of privilege. This isn’t something that I learned entirely as a kid. This is something that I’ve become aware of as an adult and have tried to educate myself about. One of the memories that I do have from my childhood, though, is watching Dick Gregory on television. He was making jokes about what it was to be a black man in America, and although they were funny, I paid attention. The things that he joked about were funny but true, and started to show me that my experience of America was not representative of everyone’s experience.
We lost Mr. Gregory in 2017, and I am grateful for this collection of essays that take us from his childhood in the 1930s to his experiences in the Harlem Renaissance and his work in the Civil Rights movement, where he worked alongside Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Ms. Rosa Parks. He talks about black history in a nearly tangible way, and in a way that is so relevant to what is going on in America today.
Mr. Gregory was a comedian, historian, track star, soldier in the Army, activist, and a son of our own St. Louis, Mo. His is a history to be treasured. His history, after all, is all of ours, too. | Melissa Cynova