Dick Gregory visits the Summit City

Dick Gregory speaks in front of more than 200 people at IPFW.

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) A well-known comedian and political activist stopped by the Summit City Thursday.

Dick Gregory started his career as a comedian more than six decades ago while serving in the army. The St. Louis native eventually moved to Chicago to perform professionally.

Gregory, now 83, became one of the first black comedians to perform for white audiences. He was part of a new generation of black comedians who rejected black stereotypes when it came to comedy and chose politically charged humor focusing in on civil rights.

He was the first black comedian to be a guest and perform on The Tonight Show Starring Jack Paar in 1961, sparking a national conversation about race relations in America.

Gregory played an important role during the Civil Rights movement and participated in the 1963 march on Selma, Alabama with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr..

He focuses on economic reform, women’s rights and anti-drug causes among many.

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