110 Dick Gregory Quotes

There are days when all you need is a reminder to fight and continue on with your journey in life—and that’s exactly what this collection of Dick Gregory quotes can do for you.

Sure, his lines and his words may sound humorous and comedic to some. However, this is certainly his way of making us understand and see a different perspective of what’s originally presented to us.

Get to know more about Dick Gregory through the quotes below.

Best Dick Gregory Quotes

Dick Gregory Quote - The only good thing about the good old days is they're gone. Pin

1. “The only good thing about the good old days is they’re gone.”

2. “The most difficult thing to get people to do is to accept the obvious.”

3. “I never learned hate at home or shame. I had to go to school for that.”

4. “Dear Momma, wherever you are, if ever you hear the word ‘nigger’ again, remember they are advertising my book.”

Dick Gregory Quote - When I tune into my beautiful self, I get happiness.Pin

5. “When I tune into my beautiful self, I get happiness. Everything in the universe belongs to me.”

6. “Love is man’s natural endowment, but he doesn’t know how to use it.”

7. “If they took all the drugs, nicotine, alcohol, and caffeine off the market for six days, they’d have to bring out the tanks to control you.”

8. “If all you can do is judge a person by their appearance because you don’t have the spirit to judge someone from within, you’re in trouble.”

9. “One of the things I keep learning is that the secret of being happy is doing things for other people.”

Dick Gregory Quote - Political promises are much like marriage vows. They are made at the beginning of the relationship between candidate and voter.Pin

10. “Political promises are much like marriage vows. They are made at the beginning of the relationship between candidate and voter, but are quickly forgotten.”

11. “He refuses to recognize the power of love because of his love of power.”

12. “Education means to bring out wisdom. Indoctrination means to push in knowledge.”

13. “I don’t know why America always thinks she has to run all around the world forcing people to take our way of governance at the barrel of a gun.”

14. “Last time I was down South, I walked into this restaurant and this white waitress came up to me and said, ‘We don’t serve colored people here.’ I said, ‘That’s alright, I don’t eat colored people. Bring me a whole fried chicken.’”

Dick Gregory Quote - Fear and God do not occupy the same space.Pin

15. “Fear and God do not occupy the same space.”

16. “In America, with all of its evils and faults, you can still reach through the forest and see the sun. But we don’t know yet whether that sun is rising or setting for our country.”

17. “When you’ve got something really good, you don’t have to force it on people. They will steal it!”

18. “I am really enjoying the new Martin Luther King Jr stamp—just think about all those white bigots, licking the backside of a black man.”

19. “Because I’m a civil rights activist, I am also an animal rights activist.”

Dick Gregory Quotes on Rights and Equality

Dick Gregory Quote - Civil rights - what black folks are given in the U.S. on the installment plan, as in civil-rights bills.Pin

20. “Civil rights—what black folks are given in the U.S. on the installment plan, as in civil-rights bills. Not to be confused with human rights, which are the dignity, stature, humanity, respect, and freedom belonging to all people by right of their birth.”

21. “Just being a Negro doesn’t qualify you to understand the race situation any more than being sick makes you an expert on medicine.”

22. “Animals and humans suffer and die alike.”

23. “I waited at the counter of a white restaurant for eleven years. When they finally integrated, they didn’t have what I wanted.”

24. “If you take 12 waters from the coconut—not the ones you buy in the store, although that’s good—but the fresh coconuts, the little brown ones with the three eyes, if you take 12 of those within 24 hours, your blood will go back to the way it was when you were born.”

Dick Gregory Quote - We used to root for the Indians against the cavalry, because we didn't think it was fair in the history books that when the cavalry won it was a great victory, and when the Indians won it was a massacre.Pin

25. “We used to root for the Indians against the cavalry, because we didn’t think it was fair in the history books that when the cavalry won it was a great victory, and when the Indians won it was a massacre.”

26. “If I had to write down the most important people in the history of this planet, number one would be John Brown.”

27. “I go to Chinese Christian community. Jesus looks Chinese. I go to Japanese Christian community. Jesus looks Japanese. I go to Brazilian Christian community. Jesus looks Brazilian. How come in America Jesus looks white?”

28. “What price would God demand from the churches for having the audacity to lighten the color of his son’s skin, and straighten out his nappy hair?”

29. “Race baiters and discriminators may go underground, but they never move out of town.”

Dick Gregory Quote - In the South, they don't mind how close I get, so long as I don't get too big. In the North, they don't mind how big I get, so long as I don't get too close.Pin

30. “In the South, they don’t mind how close I get, so long as I don’t get too big. In the North, they don’t mind how big I get, so long as I don’t get too close.”

31. “White folks are the luckiest people. Finally, a Black president and he’s a behaved one—went to the best schools, best colleges, never raises his voice. I ran for president in 1968. I tell audiences if I won, I would have dug up the Rose Garden and planted watermelon!”

32. “I never believed in Santa Claus because I knew no white dude would come into my neighborhood after dark.”

33. “Black folks tell their kids they have to be twice as good as a white person? Well, if I tell a child of mine that or that they have to be careful, that this is what a cop would do if you do this, they think something is wrong with them. I tell them death is better.”

34. “When I lost my rifle, the Army charged me 85 dollars. That is why in the Navy the Captain goes down with the ship.”

Dick Gregory Quote - Black Americans are the only people in history who are for education instead of liberation.Pin

35. “Black Americans are the only people in history who are for education instead of liberation. George Washington wasn’t beating up on British for the right to open a college! The line isn’t, ‘Give me education or give me death.’”

36. “Black conservatives have a right to exist, but why would I want to walk around with a swastika on my shirt after the way Hitler done messed it up?”

37. “I would have painted the White House black. I would have!”

38. “If it wasn’t for Abe Lincoln, I’d still be on the open market.”

39. “You know, I always say white is not a colour, white is an attitude; and if you haven’t got trillions of dollars in the bank that you don’t need, you can’t be white.”

Dick Gregory Quote - I didn't realize, when I decided to be a comic, that a Black person had never been allowed to stand flat-footed in America and talk to white folks. Pin

40. “I didn’t realize, when I decided to be a comic, that a Black person had never been allowed to stand flat-footed in America and talk to white folks. It never happened before.”

41. “Being White is a job in America. You take that away, you better get the soldiers out.”

42. “It was an unwritten law that Black comics were not permitted to work white nightclubs. You could sing and you could dance, but you couldn’t stand flat-footed and talk; that was a no-no.”

43. “Once we used to have to crank up our cars, now you can pop it on from inside your house. Everything has changed except how we get freedom.”

44. “Because you make me laugh, don’t make you a comic.”

Dick Gregory Quote - I never thought I'd see the day that I would see White folks as frightened, or more so, than Black folks were during the civil rights movement when we were in Mississippi.Pin

45.“I never thought I’d see the day that I would see White folks as frightened, or more so, than Black folks were during the civil rights movement when we were in Mississippi.”

46. “People keep telling me about the white race and the black race, and it really doesn’t make sense. I played Miami, met a fellow two shades darker than me, and his name was Ginsberg! Took my place in two sit-in demonstrations—nobody knew the difference. Then, he tried for a third lunch counter and blew the whole bit.”

47. “I won’t say I’m out of condition now, but I even puff going downstairs.”

48. “I believe young voters will either vote for Obama or not vote at all. So the problem is not Obama, the problem is the system. If you think about how messed up this country is, most folk really don’t have choices.”

49. “Let me tell you, never before in the history of this planet has anybody made the progress that African-Americans have made in a 30-year period, in spite of many black folks and white folks lying to one another.”

Dick Gregory Quotes on Oppression, Violence, and Pain

Dick Gregory Quote - Violence causes the same pain, the same spilling of blood, the same stench of death.Pin

50. “Violence causes the same pain, the same spilling of blood, the same stench of death, the same arrogant, cruel, and vicious taking of life. We shouldn’t be a part of it.”

51. “The United States is the most dishonest, ungodly, unspiritual nation that ever existed in the history of the planet.”

52. “In the United States, the Constitution is a health chart left by the Founding Fathers which shows whether or not the body politic is in good health. If the national body is found to be in poor health, the Founding Fathers also left a prescription for the restoration of health called the Declaration of Independence.”

53. “America will tolerate the taking of a human life without giving it a second thought. But don’t misuse a household pet.”

54. “The only person on the planet saying derogatory things about his woman is the Black man.”

Dick Gregory Quote - Whenever the dollar is held supreme and capitalistic interests dominate, a higher value will always be placed upon property rights than upon human rights.Pin

55. “Whenever the dollar is held supreme and capitalistic interests dominate, a higher value will always be placed upon property rights than upon human rights.”

56. “What happens to Black folks today, happens to White folks tomorrow.”

57. “Why are black folks singing Amazing Grace which is a song about a white slaver’s conversion?”

58. “My wife and I went to jail in Selma. The difference when I was back there recently? White folks? No. Black folks who were not scared. I was behind the president this time. When I was a little boy and ran around with trifling dudes, I was the only one scared of dogs. And I was bitten 14 times! Dogs smell scared. And that’s the same thing with people. 50 years ago they smelled fear. There was no fear this time.”

59. “‘Some kind of way,’ we have to say enough is enough.”

Dick Gregory Quote - America is concerned more with the possibility of moon folks than the reality of hungry poor folks.Pin

60. “America is concerned more with the possibility of moon folks than the reality of hungry poor folks.”

61. “No being should be killed. No being should be unloved.”

62. “You got to die of something because if you die of nothing, they won’t pay your insurance.”

63. “Dogs are great assets to candidates, and the feeling seems to be that if a dog loves the candidate, he can’t be all that bad.”

64. “Martin Luther King taught us all nonviolence. I was told to extend nonviolence to the mother and her calf.”

Dick Gregory Quote - If democracy is such a good thing, let's have more of it.Pin

65. “If democracy is such a good thing, let’s have more of it.”

66. “Pets are found to suffer from all the ailments known to humans.”

67. “We thought I was going to be a great athlete, and we were wrong. And I thought I was going to be a great entertainer, and that wasn’t it either. I’m going to be an American citizen—first class.”

68. “If you can justify killing to eat meat, you can justify the conditions of the ghetto. I cannot justify either one.”

69. “When you look at Hitler and those thugs, you can put Walmart right next to them.”

Dick Gregory Quote - Now, let me tell you why I'm saying this - I don't believe no insignificant pip-squeak is going to be able to pull this off month after month and we can't find out what's going on.Pin

70. “Now here’s what I’m saying, I’ve always believed that every other month we hear about compromisation of bank records. I think that’s the CIA and the FBI. Now, let me tell you why I’m saying this—I don’t believe no insignificant pip-squeak is going to be able to pull this off month after month and we can’t find out what’s going on.”

71. “I would never teach a child of mine to be kind to a cop who would shoot you in the back of the head. I would never have that conversation because children don’t hear what you mean, they hear what you say.”

72. “Eating liver out of a cow’s body is like eating the filter out of a car.”

73. “A Klaner KKK is a cat who gets out of bed in the middle of the night and takes his sheet with him.”

74. “The jellybean-eating thug says that national defense is important, but national defense starts at home.”

Dick Gregory Quote - My mother was the sweetest lady who ever lived on this planet, but if you tried to tell her that Jesus wasn't a Christian, she would stomp you to death.Pin

75. “My mother was the sweetest lady who ever lived on this planet, but if you tried to tell her that Jesus wasn’t a Christian, she would stomp you to death.”

76. “America is 5% of the world’s population and consumes 96% of the world’s hard drugs.”

77. “America has the mightiest military on the planet, and they didn’t get there with entertainers.”

78. “And we love to dance, especially that new one called the Civil War Twist. The Northern part of you stands still, while the Southern part tries to secede.”

79. “When I went South in the 1960s, I knew I could die. If I went down there and did what I did up in Chicago and made all of those hating White folks laugh, then I would have been defeated.”

Dick Gregory Quotes on the Realities of Life

Dick Gregory Quote - Poor is a state of mind you never grow out of, but being broke is just a temporary condition.Pin

80. “Poor is a state of mind you never grow out of, but being broke is just a temporary condition.”

81. “Life isn’t a race. It’s a relay.”

82. “I chose to be an agitator. And there’s one interesting thing about being an agitator—and I tell people, the next time you put your underwear in the washing machine, take the agitator out, and all you’re going to end up with is some dirty, wet drawers.”

83. “Laughter is the best way to release tensions and fears.”

84. “People with high blood pressure, diabetes—those are conditions brought about by lifestyle. If you change your lifestyle, those conditions will disappear.”

Dick Gregory Quote - Love is very dangerous if you just have love and don't have the ability to be lovable.Pin

85. “Love is very dangerous if you just have love and don’t have the ability to be lovable.”

86. “Humans were the only creatures in the world that ate their food cooked. You’d never find a Gorilla frying up some bananas for dinner or a lion charcoal-broiling a zebra steak. Cats don’t often run to the oven with a mouse or bird they’ve captured, and a dog wouldn’t naturally prepare its rabbit dinner in a stew.”

87. “Luck is an opportunity meeting up with preparation. So you must prepare yourself to be lucky.”

88. “The free man is the man with no fears.”

89. “I went to Ethiopia, and it dawned on me that you can tell a starving, malnourished person because they’ve got a bloated belly and a bald head. And I realized that if you come through any American airport and see businessmen running through with bloated bellies and bald heads, that’s malnutrition, too.”

Dick Gregory Quote - There's a God force inside of you that gives you a will to live.Pin

90. “There’s a God force inside of you that gives you a will to live.”

91. “The world is fed by greed.”

92. “There is a limit on how much information you can keep bottled up.”

93. “In most places in the country, voting is looked upon as a right and a duty, but in Chicago it’s a sport.”

94. “The funniest jokes you know aren’t from comics, but relatives, friends—from your life. That’s the funniest stuff.”

Dick Gregory Quote - Nature is not affected by finance.Pin

95. “Nature is not affected by finance.”

96. “I wouldn’t mind paying taxes if I knew they were going to a friendly country.”

97. “Every holiday on the calendar, I check in a hotel and fast. I don’t eat, I don’t drink, I don’t talk.”

98. “Revolution ain’t nothing but an extent of evolution; evolution is a fact of nature. So when old folks tell me that they don’t understand hip hop and the music is too loud, well I guess it means you’re not supposed to be in there.”

99. “When you have a good mother and no father, God kind of sits in. It’s not enough, but it helps.”

Dick Gregory Quote - Baseball is very big with my people. It figures. It's the only way we can get to shake a bat at a white man without starting a riot.Pin

100. “Baseball is very big with my people. It figures. It’s the only way we can get to shake a bat at a white man without starting a riot.”

101. “Coconut milk is the only thing on this planet that comes identically to mother’s milk.”

102. “Everything we do we should look at in terms of millions of people who can’t afford it.”

103. “My belief is, you know, certain things have to be explained that’s never been explained.”

104. “I buy about $1,500 worth of papers every month. Not that I trust them. I’m looking for the crack in the fabric.”

Dick Gregory Quote - Don't have a high school diploma? You're in my Cabinet. Why? For 200 years, a lot of Cabinets have existed in our government. Pin

105. “Don’t have a high school diploma? You’re in my Cabinet. Why? For 200 years, a lot of Cabinets have existed in our government. Powerful men. Well-educated. So let’s try something totally new.”

106. “So why would I want to call myself a conservative after the way these White racist thugs have used that word to hide behind? They call themselves new Republicans.”

107. “You hear entertainers all the time, saying, ‘If I couldn’t get paid for this, I’d do it for free.’ When’s the last time you ever heard a business person say, ‘If I couldn’t get paid for being chairman of British Petroleum, I’d do it for free?’”

108. “Audiences feel no hatred from me because I’m not bitter.”

109. “To me, seeing a really great comedian is a bit like watching a musician or a poet.”

Dick Gregory Quote - At the very last moment, nature would force you to blink your eyes. Nature will protect her own.Pin

110. “At the very last moment, nature would force you to blink your eyes. Nature will protect her own.”

What Do You Have to Say About the Social Issues That Dick Gregory Focused On?

Dick Gregory is one of the most successful black comedians of all time who focused on different social struggles like racism, hunger, and health disparities. On the outside, he made his audience laugh, but for him, it was always about more than just jokes and comedy. Humor was his way in—his way for people to look at things in a different perspective. He delved into complicated and uncomfortable topics as a way for his audience to go beyond just entertainment and in the end, for them to learn and to challenge themselves to be better citizens for others.

Did you catch Dick Gregory’s real message behind his witty lines? How did these quotes impact the way you look at different social issues? We’d love to have a discussion on this, so be sure to type in your thoughts in the comments section below!

Amy Finn

Hi. I'm Amy, the founder of this blog. I love quotes and enjoy sharing the best ones with you.

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