When he took the stage at UA in October 1969, African-American comedian Dick Gregory joked that he’d meant to be there six months before, for the previous Emphasis program, but he’d been in jail at the time and couldn’t make it. What followed was a speech just as unorthodox as its introduction, a mixture of observational humor and pointed political critique, much of it about the state of race relations in the U.S.
I imagine his words and ideas ruffled some feathers here nearly 45 years ago, but that was just the point of the Emphasis program, to frankly discuss the most important issues of the day. In this case, it wasn’t just frank discussion, it was hilarious! And it still hits home today.
Follow this link to access the digital audio of the speech: Emphasis 1970, The University of Alabama, Dick Gregory