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Defining Moments in Black History

Reading Between the Lies
Narrated by: James Shippy
Length: 7 hrs and 37 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (1,707 ratings)
Regular price: $25.95
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Publisher's Summary

With his trademark acerbic wit, incisive humor, and infectious paranoia, one of our foremost comedians and most politically engaged civil rights activists looks back at 100 key events from the complicated history of black America.

A friend of luminaries including Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Medgar Evers, and the forebear of today's popular black comics, including Larry Wilmore, W. Kamau Bell, Damon Young, and Trevor Noah, Dick Gregory was a provocative and incisive cultural force for more than 50 years. As an entertainer, he always kept it indisputably real about race issues in America, fearlessly lacing laughter with hard truths. As a leading activist against injustice, he marched at Selma during the Civil Rights movement, organized student rallies to protest the Vietnam War; sat in at rallies for Native American and feminist rights; fought apartheid in South Africa; and participated in hunger strikes in support of Black Lives Matter.

In this collection of thoughtful, provocative essays, Gregory charts the complex and often obscured history of the African American experience. In his unapologetically candid voice, he moves from African ancestry and surviving the Middle Passage to the creation of the Jheri Curl, the enjoyment of bacon and everything pig, the headline-making shootings of black men, and the Black Lives Matter movement. A captivating journey through time, Defining Moments in Black History explores historical movements such as The Great Migration and the Harlem Renaissance, as well as cultural touchstones such as Sidney Poitier winning the Best Actor Oscar for Lilies in the Field and Billie Holiday releasing "Strange Fruit".

An engaging look at black life that offers insightful commentary on the intricate history of the African American people, Defining Moments in Black History is an essential, no-holds-bar history lesson that will provoke, enlighten, and entertain.

©2017 Dick Gregory (P)2017 HarperCollins Publishers

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  • Terrance
  • Austell, Georgia, United States
  • 11-01-17

Baba Gregory is an Awesome Teacher

Baba Gregory has always been able to get me to stop and really concentrate on the lessons he teach. He has a way of making mundane facts seem interesting. This writing and performance kept me engaged and entertained; all the while educating me on a concept that some may have forgot. That being Melanated, a.k.a. Black, is a gift from the Most High to show you that you are the most beloved.

28 of 30 people found this review helpful

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Excellent

Learned a great deal of history between the lines.there was significant first hand experience. The language was quite colorful.

15 of 16 people found this review helpful

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  • TonyaA6
  • Vacaville, CA, United States
  • 09-22-17

A History Lesson from Mr. Gregory.

Thank you, Mr. Gregory, for leaving us this magnificent gift. May your soul rest in eternal peace.

22 of 24 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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MANDATORY READING/LISTENING

If you are a person of color, you need to listen to this book. I don't agree with everything that Dick Gregory says but I do believe most of it. Over the years I have listened to dozens of audio books. This is the first time I am listening to one for the 2nd time.
I am also making it my business to revisit some of the stuff presented here and doing my own research as well.
The book is very intriguing. As a person of color I am both inspired and disturbed by whats presented.
This book is definitely in my top 5.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Mr. Gregory has left us a wonderful gift to share

I could not stop listening and was sad that it ended so soon. I will share with many generations to come. Much needed information!!!

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars

Thank you Mr Gregory

Loved the book! So much wisdom and history packed in the book. Wonderful storyteller who kept me engaged. My only complaint is that the book had to end.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

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How we see the world matters to how we tell storie

Just a little over a year ago Dick Gregory passed away. Defining Moments in Black History was his last book. Dick Gregory was most well known as a comedian. His comedy albums in the 1960s and 1970s as well as his comedy tours and TV appearances made him nationally known. But Gregory was also a political activist. He ran for Chicago mayor against Richard J Daley in 1967. He was signficantly involved in the Civil Rights movement.

And as you hear throughout this book, he was at or participated in or knew personally many of the people or events that he is talking about.

I have no idea how to really talk about this book. Much of it is just standard recounting of the parts of history that are routinely ignored or white washed. But other parts are just crazy town conspiracy theories. I think that is part of what Gregory is known for. What is hard to talk about is that not all of the conspiracy theories he is talking about are simply theories. Plots against MLK by the FBI are not conspiracy theories. Cointelpro and the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment are not conspiracy theories.

And then there are the parts that may have some validity, but are unlikely. Coretta Scott King and many others believe that there was a broader conspiracy to kill Martin Luther King Jr. From what I can tell, there is circumstantial evidence, but not definitive proof that the FBI, the Memphis Police or other government agencies played a role in MLK’s assassination. But there is enough evidence for the discussion.

I am very concerned about unverified sharing of conspiracy theories. Alex Jones and others have made their livelihood sharing these false narratives and they harm actual people. This is not just entertainment. Dick Gregory, according to Wikipedia actually was on Alex Jones’ show at least three times.

So I really do have a hard time recommending this book because some of it is just straight trash. On the other hand, most of the book is really good. Much of our understanding of Black history is poor and many people of all races do not have a real understanding of the many important roles in all history that Blacks (mostly Americans in this book) played in history.

The problem with recommending a book like this, is that if you do not have at least a decent background in Black History and conspiracy theories it would be hard to know what is what. And honestly there are probably at least a few that I dismissed that have some validity to them. The problem is that it is likely people like Gregory that talk about them, but we need some good academic historians to do it as well. But academic historians with the chops to do the work tend to not spend much time in this type of high contentious subject areas.

The best parts of the book are his personal touches. The fact that he knew so many people he talked about does matter and if you do read the book, I think that is probably the best reason to read it.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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80% interesting 20% bias

i liked the history lesson and change of perspective but Gregory has an extreme bias and as long as you know this and can remain open-minded to the whole rather than the parts its a good read.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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This is a great book.

Provides american history with an african american view point. Discusses civil rights movement, music, civil war... shows african americans contributions to key eras in american history.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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Amazing

One of the best books I listen to and I’m gonna listen it again I appreciate this book your gonna be miss

5 of 6 people found this review helpful