Published Wednesday, Jan. 20, 1999
'60s activist still a controversial voice
By Pam Mansell
Herald Staff Writer
If you lived in the 1960s, you probably remember Dick Gregory. He's they guy who gave up a promising career as a comedian to become a civil rights activist, marching alongside the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and defying death more than once in the racial battle zones across the southern United States.
More recently, his anti-drug crusades and his advocacy of good nutrition have added to his portfolio of causes to benefit his race in particular and mankind in general.
But that isn't the whole of the man. More than 400 people listened Tuesday night as Gregory gave a nearly two-hour speech at Slippery Rock University in which he covered a wide range of subjects. Gregory's appearance was part of the university's celebration of Martin Luther King Day.
Some would say Gregory's either a lone, sane voice in a world run by very evil people, or he's a paranoid conspiracy theorist.
For example, Gregory claimed these as facts:
Gregory called those "fact" part of the "games, games, games" he sees everywhere. "This is what happens in your free, democratic society," he said over and over, hammering home his theme that Americans are kidding themselves if they think they actually have a voice in voting, if they think they're getting the truth from the media, if they think there is anyone other than a few "thugs" running the show. "You're naive if you think you're so secure and so safe," Gregory warned.
- George Washington was not really the first president of the United States. John Hanson, a black man, was. Washington was really the ninth president of the country. Gregory said a black radio station was responsible for unveiling that truth, since white-run media -- and others in power that he labeled a "handful of evil, old white men" -- have perpetuated the Washington history.
- Ron Goldman and Nicole Brown Simpson had unspeakable atrocities done to their bodies by their killer or killers, but no media except one reported it. In addition, the skin scrapings found under Nicole's fingernails, presumably the skin of her attacker, was white -- a fact not reported by any news agency, Gregory said. He added that four other people from the restaurant where Goldman worked were killed after Goldman was. That seems to imply that the Goldman-Simpson murders were part of a larger conspiracy.
- Ron Brown, commerce secretary and former head of the Democratic party, was not really killed in a plane crash. He was shot in the back of the head. Gregory had photos of a body he said was Brown's.
- The four hours of President Clinton's grand jury testimony that was given to Congress and the public were not the real four hours of testimony.
- The results of the 1997 election were manipulated at least a month ahead. Gregory claimed the results were known in Great Britain the month before the election.
- Mobile phones cause cancer. Gregory said the rest of the world knows it, but the American powers-that-be will not permit the information to get out in this country.
- Three people were killed in a Starbucks coffee shop in the Georgetown section of Washington, D.C., and Monica Lewinsky, who was supposed to be there that night, was probably an intended victim. According to Gregory, a witness said the killers used silencers on their guns, and were more like "hit men" than robbers.
- The small plane that crashed into the White House a couple of years ago was really a "warning to Bubba," Gregory said. He scoffed at the idea that a small plane could get through when "Russia, China, Great Britain and France" couldn't get a plane that close to the White House without it being shot down.
- President Clinton's secretary Betty Currie was threatened to give the testimony she did to Kenneth Starr's grand jury. Her mother, brother and sister have since died mysteriously, Gregory said.
"What a wonderful time I had with Martin," Gregory said. One of King's strengths, Gregory said was, "He never had one conversation with black folks and another for white folks."
Gregory said he was in Atlanta on Monday, where he visited King's tomb and said a "thank-you prayer" that he had grown up in this country and been able to know Mr. King.
Despite his grim view of America's "free, democratic society," Gregory said the situation in the United States is "not beyond the point of no return."
"If it were, I wouldn't be here," he said.
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Updated Jan. 20, 1999
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