Dick Gregory: There Was Beef Within The Civil Rights Movement Too
10 months ago
Comedian/activist dispels some myths in recent interview.
Granted, Dick Gregory is known more for his old man rants and conspiracy theories than his jokes and social commentary nowadays, but he still knows how to make his words grab attention.
In an interview to promote a town hall discussion featuring him and rapper Killer Mike, Gregory spoke on a side of the civil rights movement that many books overlook.
When asked about the division between the civil rights era and the Hip Hop generation, Gregory quickly quipped:
Hold it right there. There was a divide between Civil Rights and civil rights, the church and civil rights. There were a whole lot of preachers who bad-mouthed King. ... There was a divide between Malcolm X and Muslims. There was a divide between Elijah Muhammad and the Civil Rights Movement. So there's always been a divide. It didn't stop nothing [but] there's a lot of people that take it personal. ...
He also went on to allude that people from his era were either not equipped or simply did not "pass the baton" to the next generation:
We in the Civil Rights Movement were nothing but first responders; we're not the doctor. We don't have the technology to find out how damaged you have been from slavery. So we dropped them there at the hospital and instead of leaving, we're going to say, "What's wrong with them?" That's a violation. We got so famous, we forgot our job was just to take them to the hospital. That's what we were in the Civil Rights Movement — out there in the rain, the dirt, beat up and all that. Doctors and scientists don't function in that type of atmosphere. They made us so important and so famous we forgot. ... And so that was our big mistake, we didn't give it to that next group that takes them to the next group that takes them to the next group.
What we were dealing with in the days of the Civil Rights Movement was physical. If somebody gets lynched in Atlanta today, we all are shocked. But it's a mental thing now. And maybe that's what rappers are doing. Maybe they don't know it. It's the state of the mind; it's the mind thing.