DC pays tribute to comedy legend, civil rights activist Dick Gregory

Dick Gregory's younger brother, Ron Gregory, poses with a fan of the late comedian. Juanice Johnson says she loved Gregory's humor. (WTOP/Kathy Stewart)
Dick Gregory’s younger brother, Ron Gregory, poses with a fan of the late comedian. Juanice Johnson says she loved Gregory’s humor. (WTOP/Kathy Stewart)

Ron Gregory poses with a fan of the late comedian and activist before the parade in his honor. (WTOP/Kathy Stewart)
Ron Gregory poses with a fan of the late comedian and activist before the parade in his honor. (WTOP/Kathy Stewart)

A photo of the crowd that gathered to celebrate Dick Gregory's life on Sunday. (Courtesy Derek Ward)
A photo of the crowd that gathered to celebrate Dick Gregory’s life on Sunday. (Courtesy Derek Ward)

The car with Dick Gregory's casket in front of The Howard Theatre, where a celebration of his life was taking place this morning. (WTOP/Kathy Stewart)
The car with Dick Gregory’s casket in front of The Howard Theatre, where a celebration of his life was taking place this morning. (WTOP/Kathy Stewart)

A parade in honor of Dick Gregory started at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday from The Howard Theatre, where Gregory had performed numerous times. (WTOP/Kathy Stewart)
A parade in honor of Dick Gregory started at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday from The Howard Theatre, where Gregory had performed numerous times. (WTOP/Kathy Stewart)

The parade ended at Ben’s Chili Bowl on U Street Northwest, where Gregory’s likeness is on the mural outside. (WTOP/Kathy Stewart) (WTOP/Kathy Stewart)
T-shirts honoring Dick Gregory. (WTOP/Kathy Stewart)
T-shirts honoring Dick Gregory. (WTOP/Kathy Stewart)

Dick Gregory's family wore white T-shirts during Sunday's celebration. (WTOP/Kathy Stewart)
Dick Gregory’s family wore white T-shirts during Sunday’s celebration. (WTOP/Kathy Stewart)

Dick Gregory
FILE – In this July 21, 2012 file photo, comedian and activist Dick Gregory poses for a portrait during the PBS TCA Press Tour in Beverly Hills, Calif. Gregory, the comedian and activist and who broke racial barriers in the 1960s and used his humor to spread messages of social justice and nutritional health, has died. He was 84. Gregory died late Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017, in Washington, D.C. after being hospitalized for about a week, his son Christian Gregory told The Associated Press. He had suffered a severe bacterial infection. (Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision/AP, File)

FILE - In this Jan. 20, 2016 file photo, long time civil rights activist, writer, social critic, and comedian Dick Gregory, talks to the crowd at the 16th annual Tampa Bay Black Heritage Festival, MLK Leadership Luncheon, at the University Area Community Development Center, in Tampa, Fla. Gregory, the comedian and activist and who broke racial barriers in the 1960s and used his humor to spread messages of social justice and nutritional health, has died. He was 84. Gregory died late Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017, in Washington, D.C. after being hospitalized for about a week, his son Christian Gregory told The Associated Press. He had suffered a severe bacterial infection.  (Scott Keeler /Tampa Bay Times via AP)
FILE – In this Jan. 20, 2016 file photo, long time civil rights activist, writer, social critic, and comedian Dick Gregory, talks to the crowd at the 16th annual Tampa Bay Black Heritage Festival, MLK Leadership Luncheon, at the University Area Community Development Center, in Tampa, Fla. Gregory, the comedian and activist and who broke racial barriers in the 1960s and used his humor to spread messages of social justice and nutritional health, has died. He was 84. Gregory died late Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017, in Washington, D.C. after being hospitalized for about a week, his son Christian Gregory told The Associated Press. He had suffered a severe bacterial infection. (Scott Keeler /Tampa Bay Times via AP)

Brent N. Clarke/Getty Images
Brent N. Clarke/Getty Images

Comedians Dick Gregory (left) and Dave Chappelle are also among the new faces in the Ben's Chili Bowl mural. (WTOP/Kate Ryan)
Comedians Dick Gregory (left) and Dave Chappelle are also among the new faces in the Ben’s Chili Bowl mural. (WTOP/Kate Ryan)

Dick Gregory attended the Oct. 18, 2015 event honoring Eddie Murphy with the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. (Courtesy Shannon Finney, www.shannonfinneyphotography.com)

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Dick Gregory's younger brother, Ron Gregory, poses with a fan of the late comedian. Juanice Johnson says she loved Gregory's humor. (WTOP/Kathy Stewart)
Ron Gregory poses with a fan of the late comedian and activist before the parade in his honor. (WTOP/Kathy Stewart)
A photo of the crowd that gathered to celebrate Dick Gregory's life on Sunday. (Courtesy Derek Ward)
The car with Dick Gregory's casket in front of The Howard Theatre, where a celebration of his life was taking place this morning. (WTOP/Kathy Stewart)
A parade in honor of Dick Gregory started at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday from The Howard Theatre, where Gregory had performed numerous times. (WTOP/Kathy Stewart)
T-shirts honoring Dick Gregory. (WTOP/Kathy Stewart)
Dick Gregory's family wore white T-shirts during Sunday's celebration. (WTOP/Kathy Stewart)
Dick Gregory
FILE - In this Jan. 20, 2016 file photo, long time civil rights activist, writer, social critic, and comedian Dick Gregory, talks to the crowd at the 16th annual Tampa Bay Black Heritage Festival, MLK Leadership Luncheon, at the University Area Community Development Center, in Tampa, Fla. Gregory, the comedian and activist and who broke racial barriers in the 1960s and used his humor to spread messages of social justice and nutritional health, has died. He was 84. Gregory died late Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017, in Washington, D.C. after being hospitalized for about a week, his son Christian Gregory told The Associated Press. He had suffered a severe bacterial infection.  (Scott Keeler /Tampa Bay Times via AP)
Brent N. Clarke/Getty Images
Comedians Dick Gregory (left) and Dave Chappelle are also among the new faces in the Ben's Chili Bowl mural. (WTOP/Kate Ryan)

WASHINGTON — People gathered outside of The Howard Theatre in D.C. Sunday morning to celebrate the life of comedy legend and civil rights activist Dick Gregory.

Gregory died in August at 84-years-old.

“[In] 1963, he had the top comedy album,” said Gregory’s son, Yohance Gregory. He added that in 1961, his father was the top performing comedian in the country. Yohance is one of 10 children.

Gregory’s younger brother Ron Gregory said his older brother knew he had people’s attention because they wanted to come see him perform. He said that Gregory used his fame as an entertainer and comedian to inform others about social injustices.

“His fight for human rights, human justice, was not for just one group of people but everybody,” said Ron.

Ron said that his brother was about 17-years-old when he dedicated his life to this cause, saying, “I look at things and they don’t seem to be the way they should. And I’m gonna devote my life for the change.”

Ron said that’s exactly what his brother did for about 70 years.

“The fight for human rights is not a spectator sport,” Ron said, expounding on what his brother taught him. “You can’t sit back and see what other people do and hope it’ll get changed. It’s a participatory situation, everyone has to join in.”

The Sunday morning event was followed by a New Orleans-style parade from The Howard Theatre to Ben’s Chili Bowl on U Street Northwest, honoring the D.C. legend.

Gregory performed at The Howard Theatre numerous times and his likeness is on the mural outside of Ben’s Chili Bowl.

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