MUHAMMAD ALI - GREGORY, Dick.

"My Brother's Keeper".

Pittsburgh: Gateway Recordings, 1964 Stock Code: 144644
£1,500.00
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Signed by Muhammad Ali

First pressing, with a fine provenance: signed in full on the back cover in blue ball-point pen by Muhammad Ali, a close friend of Gregory - who was also nutritional adviser and jogging partner to Ali - who described the comedian as "one of the greatest Americans of modern times" (cited in an Independent profile of 19 December 2004).

Additionally signed in red ball-point pen, "Keep the Faith, Baby Ann Langford". Ann Langford was an African-American attorney who was part of the team that dealt with voter suppression in Mississippi in 1965 (see Jet magazine, 4 February 1965). She also stood as a Black Independent Democrat, was elected an alderwoman in Chicago, and is mentioned in the second of Gregory's autobiographies, Up From Nigger (1976). My Brother's Keeper was released to raise funds for the African-American population of LeFlore County, Mississippi, whose subsistence had been threatened by the withdrawal of the the local board of supervisors' cooperation in the Department of Agriculture's surplus food distribution programme, in what was seen by Gregory as "a vindictive reprisal simply because Negroes had attempted to exercise their rights as citizens" (liner notes). LeFlore County was notorious even by Mississippi standards. Between 1877 and 1950 there were 48 documented lynchings. In 1955 the brutal murder of 14-year-old Emmett Till took place in the county; and in 1963, although there were 13, 000 African-Americans of voting age, fewer than 300 were registered because of intimidation and voter suppression. In 1963 the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee had moved its headquarters to the county and in March eight SNCC members were arrested while trying to register voters, forcing the United States Department of Justice Civil Rights Division to file suit against the city of Greenwood and Leflore County to obtain their release.

Gregory's impact on comedy was enormous, the same Independent piece remarking that his appearance at the Playboy Club in Chicago in December 1961, "changed the face of American comedy. 'From that moment,' Newsweek wrote, 'the Jim Crow school of humour was dead'". In an interview with Dick Cavett, Richard Pryor commented that in comedy he had made things possible for Eddie Murphy, and that "Dick Gregory made it possible for me" (available on YouTube). This live album was recorded at San Diego State College; "as the record begins I have just finished my regular performance and have now opened the floor to questions which are concerned with the Negro, race relations, integration, the Black Muslims, and the very nature of man himself" (liner notes).

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Description

12-inch vinyl LP (Gateway GLP 9007) original sleeve and album cover.

Condition

Short splits at top and bottom joints yet remains very presentable; a few light abrasions to disc otherwise very good.

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