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Nigger

4.36  ·  Rating details ·  7,693 ratings  ·  288 reviews
"Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. I understand there are a good many Southerners in the room tonight. I know the South very well. I spent twenty years there one night..."
Paperback, 224 pages
Published November 15th 1990 by Pocket Books (first published June 28th 1964)
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Mara We often try to poke holes in or intellectualize stories that make us uncomfortable. It sounds like this story brought up some discomfort. It's really…moreWe often try to poke holes in or intellectualize stories that make us uncomfortable. It sounds like this story brought up some discomfort. It's really, really hard to face how much worse people are treated solely due to the level of melanin in their skin.(less)
Chris The first person; it is Gregory's autobiography.

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Average rating 4.36  · 
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 ·  7,693 ratings  ·  288 reviews


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Robin
Dec 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
I read this book years ago. It was given to me by a young black man who was working to change the attitudes of white people. However, I was a young white woman and he knocked on my apartment door and asked to come in and talk about Civil Rights. It was 1964. I was a senior in high school. I asked him to come in. He did. We sat on the couch in the living room and he told me about the Civil Rights movement. I listened for at least a half an hour or more. The poor guy shook like an earthquake durin ...more
BlackOxford
How Long, Lord? How Long?

America is evil. It is more evil now than it was over a half century ago when Dick Gregory wrote Nigger, his first autobiography. Back then the racists were mostly Southern, Democratic, ignorant and at least a little ashamed. Now they are Central, Republican, just as ignorant, but firmly in charge, and proud of it.

Gregory's commitment to the 1960's Civil Rights struggle was supported by an ideal that he could use against the bigots of the day: "I told them that they were
...more
Shannon
Apr 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
When I first wrote this review it was quite challenging. I had it drafted for a while and didn’t think it was good enough. I still don’t. So to sum it up, I’ll go ahead and tell you Nigger makes my list of best books ever.

Migrations of the Heart by Marita Golden had been the book with the most memorable dedication I’d read. That was until I opened this one:

Dear Momma - Wherever you are, if ever you hear the word “nigger” again, remember they are advertising my book.


I didn’t make it much further
...more
Erin
Jar Pick #4 but 3rd pick finished(I'm a rebel)

Nigger is not only a memoir by Comedy & Civil Rights Legend Dick Gregory, its also a love letter to his momma. His mother had to work hard every single day to raise her 6 kids. She cleaned white people's houses and had to accept government relief but it still wasn't enough. Most days Dick and siblings had little to nothing to eat, they had no electricity or running water. Dick joined the track team just so he could take a shower everyday. His mother
...more
Rebecca McNutt
This book is as relevant today as it ever was. People say that racism isn't such an issue anymore, not in a modern, civilized North America, but it's all around us. It's more subtle than it used to be mind you, but it's still a huge problem, something that Nigger tries to raise awareness of. This incredible but often harrowing book will change every reader's life, and make you really look at history and the world around you in a totally different way.
Chante
Jan 04, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I knew very little about Dick Gregory before I read this book. I knew his name, that he was a comedian, and not much else. His autobiography, aptly named I add, provides incredible insight into the Civil Rights movement. I read this book before the 2004 elections and I felt so proud. Because Gregory and other black women and men were wiling to put their life on the line, I can vote. While at times Gregory's sexism is irritating, to say the least, this book is worth your time. Written in 1964 at ...more
David Schaafsma
Sep 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
“Heaven just got funnier, RIP” #DickGregory DL Hughley

Gregory, dead at 84, 8/19/17, was a ground-breaking comedian and a civil rights activist.

"Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. I understand there are a good many Southerners in the room tonight. I know the South very well. I spent twenty years there one night. . ."

Nigger, his memoir, is painfully hilarious. I read it in a high school sociology class with other books such as Black Like Me and Malcolm X's Autobiography. He dedicated the book to
...more
Deborah Heal
Sep 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I had only read excerpts before and so it was good to read the whole autobiography. It is powerful stuff. With snippets from his life, Gregory paints a picture to show us the cruel ways poverty and racism affect those in their grip--physically of course, but also emotionally, and spiritually.

His honesty is staggering--in the personal stories of his own efforts to survive with his dignity intact--and in portraying his own weaknesses and failings, by-products of the cancer of hatred and racism he
...more
Jessie
Feb 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was a memoir, or autobiography, in the truest sense, and it was pretty good. Following Gregory’s life from early childhood in St. Louis, up until the book’s publication, when he was enjoying significant success and had a true passion for civil rights, this was told in the breathlessly sincere confessional style of the time that followed me into my dream. Gregory grew up POOR and Black. Like too poor to have power to cook the annual charity Christmas turkey poor. Like his mother was slowly d ...more
Phil
I have taught this book several times to classes of ninth graders, and the depth with which it speaks to young, poor, Black students is startling. From high school track star to successful local comedian to civil rights activist to conflicted family man, the many lifetimes this man has led, along with the insights they provide for the human condition, allow more discussion points than one class can be expected to cover. This book is a great companion to studies of the civil rights movements of t ...more
Ka’leneReads
Feb 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: autos-bios
One of TheGreatestEver💕......Dear Mama where U r, if Ever U hear the word Nigger again remember They r advertising MyBook Dick Gregory 🔥🔥
flannery
Jul 19, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: humor
"Dear Momma- Wherever you are, if you ever hear the word "nigger" again, remember, they are advertising my book."

Before I lend this book to my boss and risk its disappearance, I thought I'd transcribe a few of my favorite parts. On meeting his wife:

"She was so nervous while she was writing it down, she kept tearing the paper with her pencil point. I rolled up the paper and put it in my pocket. Lillian Smith stayed through the second show and the Sunday evening show and she kept staring at me lik
...more
Ben Loory
Aug 21, 2010 rated it really liked it
i've always been vaguely aware of dick gregory as a comic, but a few weeks ago i watched this documentary called one bright shining moment about george mcgovern's 1972 run for president, and dick gregory's appearances in it were just amazing; the intelligence and humor and anger and humanity coming off that guy were incredible. so i went out and bought this book, an autobiography that takes him from his dirt-poor fatherless childhood shining shoes and stealing things up through high school and c ...more
Zayne
Aug 09, 2007 rated it it was amazing
From surviving a Dickensian childhood to psyching out a knuckle-dragging racist, there's nothing in Gregory's autobiography that isn't gripping, heartbreaking and wise.
Frank
Dec 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
I picked up a used copy of this book many years ago, I think at the book sale the public library used to hold (although my copy is a yellowed, well-worn paperback, not an ex-library book), and it has sat on various shelves of mine, waiting to be read. I started it on vacation in Michigan a couple summers ago, but its opening chapter, set on a bleak Christmas Eve in St. Louis in the 1940s, didn't fit well with warm beach fun and I put it down. This time around, I found it consistently engaging. L ...more
Kusaimamekirai
Aug 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing

Wow. I started this in the afternoon and was so amazed by it that I finished it the same day. Honestly, Dick Gregory is one of those names I occasionally came across when reading about the civil rights movement, but I never really thought too much about him. With his passing this week I decided to learn more and start with his autobiography. Again, wow.
The book is basically broken into three sections.
The first about his childhood, the second about his start in comedy, and the third about hi
...more
laudanum at 33
Dec 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
"This is a Bible here. We know it's a book. Now if I sat here and called it a bicycle, I have called it something it is not. So where does the bicycle exist? In my mind. I'm the sick one, right?"

This quote is from a passage near the end of Gregory's book, in which he dissects the book's title in front of an audience of black protesters and white policemen trying to suppress them. It's moments like this that transcend all of the hunger, pain, anger and dogged survivalism that underlines his comed
...more
Dewayne
Mar 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
I heard of Dick Gregory, but never knew his story. I had to get past the provocative title of this autobiography and learn about the flight of a man who was raised in an environment designed to produce hardships. Whether that was based on the color of his skin, his family financial situation, the lack of education or pure hate that existed in America at the time. I found it sad and exciting to read about all Gregory overcame to have a life of purpose and impact. This book shows how he was always ...more
Shanae
Mar 18, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Beautifully written. Full of gripping quotes and descriptive stories. Gregory's autobiography made me want to cry at times, it made me afraid, and it even made me celebrate Gregory's accomplishments with him. This is definitely one of the best works I've read this year and I recommend it to everyone interested in American history. Gregory is a smart aleck, a trouble maker, a hero, an educator, and a motivator. I learned a lot from this book and I truly believe it will stick with me for a very lo ...more
Hollyhell
Dec 25, 2010 rated it it was amazing
"Dear Momma---Wherever you are, if ever you hear the word "nigger" again, remember they are advertising my book"
Lisa
Jul 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the best books I have read in a while. I felt like I was right there with him experiencing the same events. Definitely worth reading!!
Winter Sophia Rose
Jul 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This Book Is One Of The Best I've Ever Read. You Will Be Entertained And Hooked All Throughout The Book.
Melissa
Apr 21, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Probably one of the best autobiographies I have ever read. I've lost count how many times I've read it.
Yamaneika Saunders
Sep 15, 2011 rated it it was amazing
If you can get past the title, which shouldn't be a problem if you are friends with me.

This was a deep reflections on the youthful days of Dick Gregory. It's a real coming of age book, in the voice of a young black man coming to gripes with a world that is not on his side.

This is also a good read for anyone interested in comedy, to see how life material can spawn a long and gifted career in comedy, spoken word, and lecturing.

I hold this book second to only two others (both tied for 1st, on this
...more
Sketchbook
Aug 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
Excellent account by Robert Lipsyte (ghost) of a truly comic comedian -- who is always open and honest. Without Cosby pretentiousness.
R.K. Byers
Dec 10, 2011 rated it it was amazing
if i can be affected by this like i have been and i consider myself an old grizzled veteran of these types of books, i can't imagine the effect it would have on a novice.
Emmett
Jan 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I heard of Dick Gregory a few months ago when I stumbled across a random youtube video of him giving some kind of conference at a university. It was an hour long and I didn't think I was going to make it all the way through, but I was immediately struck by how witty he was and ended up watching the entirety of it and looking him up on Wikipedia afterward. When I found out he had written a few autobiographies, I decided to purchase one.

Although everyone knows the dark past of American history, it
...more
Benjamin
Oct 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
One of those "slave narrative" type memoirs: so broke as a kid, makes a break for it and then becomes rich and famous and fighting for freedom now that he's grown up. But this one is really good. The childhood to adolescence stuff in St. Louis is devastating. How many talented people are offered as human sacrifices when they are still children? Gregory's mother looms large and for me, refuses to stay down there in the 1940s. How many single mothers are working as "domestics," facing the kind of ...more
Neil M
May 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: cultural-stuff
I read this 20 years ago. I picked it up based solely on the excerpt on the back cover, about the author going to a diner in the South and ordering a chicken dinner. I knew nothing about Dick Gregory's career as a comedian, and to this day have never seen him perform. I still don't know anything about the man, except for what is written in this book. But man, this is a powerful read. This one book changed the way I view the civil rights movement, American society (past and present), and in part, ...more
Alyssa Toastward
Apr 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Amazingly written story of Dick Gregory's life. I recommend this to anyone and everyone who wants to be an ally, & wants to continue to recognize/confront their own privilege. Gregory has a way with words, that kept me from putting this book down when reading it the first time. I will continue to go back & re-read this book in the future. ...more
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Richard "Dick" Gregory was an American civil rights activist, social critic, writer, entrepreneur, comedian, motivational speaker, author and actor. He became the first black comedian to successfully cross over to white audiences.

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“Dear Momma―Wherever you are, if ever you hear the word "nigger" again, remember they are advertising my book.” 26 likes
“When you have a good mother and no father, God kind of sits in. It’s not good enough, but it helps. But I got tired of hearing Momma say, God, fix it so I can pay the rent; God, fix it so the lights will be turned on; God, fix it so the pot is full. I kind of felt it really wasn’t His job.” 2 likes
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