Famous Fasts in History Dick Gregory

About the famous faster Dick Gregory, history and biography of the comedian turned activist.



Dick Gregory, who gave up a successful career as a comedian to become a political activist, fasted from Thanksgiving, 1967, to New Year's Day, 1968, in protest against the Vietnam War. In conjunction with this, he called for a boycott of barbers, but was unable to participate in it himself when his hair stopped growing as a result of not eating. During the fast, which was supervised by journalists Jimmy Smith and Irving Kupcinet and monitored by doctors Charles Lee Williams and Alvenia Fulton, Gregory visited 57 cities, gave 63 lectures, and lost over 50 lb. At one point, while gesturing onstage at the Village Gate in New York, his wedding band flew off his emaciated finger into the audience. Though he began the fast for political reasons, its medical aspects began to fascinate him. When he broke the fast (with fruit juice) he weighed 98 lb.

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