We’ve come to know and love Dick Gregory for his wittiness, comedic genius, and fervency for activism in the African American community.
Though much of his rhetoric marked by political overtones has remained consistent throughout the years, many may be surprised to learn that he once ran for president at a time when race relations were more tumultuous than the current generation can even imagine, 1968. His candidacy came shortly after an unsuccessful run for mayor of Chicago and incidentally, just 3 years after the Voting Rights Act.
Gregory’s campaign focused on controversial issues of the time, the Vietnam War, unalienable rights for African Americans, and the staggering unemployment in the black community.
Running as a write-in candidate for the Freedom and Peace Party, he racked up over 45,000 votes! He insisted
“the two-party system is obsolete. The two-party system is so corrupt and immoral, they can not solve the problems confronting the masses of people in this country.”
After being defeated by then Republican nominee, Richard Nixon, Gregory’s influence and reputation across cultures continued to flourish. As for the platform on which he ran for president, a New York Times poll administered this year revealed that 69% of Americans believe race relations are generally bad. 48 years later.
PUBLIC NOTE: The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not reflect the view of the Urban Intellectuals, affiliates or partners.