Friday, February 21, 2014

Dick Gregory in Little Rock, with DIGNITY

Posted By on Fri, Feb 21, 2014 at 7:23 PM

click to enlarge NOW: Dick Gregory gets a hug in greeting from Bill Walker, among the members of a community group, DIGNITY, with which Gregrory worked on a trip to Little Rock in 1991. - BRIAN CNILSON
  • Brian Cnilson
  • NOW: Dick Gregory gets a hug in greeting from Bill Walker, among the members of a community group, DIGNITY, with which Gregrory worked on a trip to Little Rock in 1991.

Dick Gregory
, the comedian and activist, was in Little Rock for a sold-out appearance tonight at the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center at which the audience also saw a documentary, "COINTELPRO: The FBI's war on black America."

The museum wasn't Gregory's only stop.

He also met beforehand at the Central High Historic Site visitors center to renew ties  with a group of Little Rock activists. In 1991, they were known as DIGNITY — Doing in God's Name Incredible Things Yourself.

Richard Martin wrote about DIGNITY, and Gregory's work with them, in the fall of 1991 for the Arkansas Times.  It was about an effort to take back mean streets from gangs and drug dealers in the inner city. People still well known today were among the leadership, such as then-legislator Bill Walker and Johnny Hassan, the Muslim imam. It was a warm reunion.

click to enlarge THEN: DIGNITY formed to battle crack cocaine.
  • THEN: DIGNITY formed to battle crack cocaine.

The visit was also an occasion for Gregory to tour the Central High Visitors Center museum, which chronicles the desegregation of Central High School.

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