Death Penalty: Dick Gregory

He began as a comedian in the 60's, a Black man whose social satire forced Americans to confront issues. But if Dick Gregory's comedy extends decades, his social activism at the age of 80 is what keeps him kicking. And he is kicking most against Capital Punishment. We speak to Dick Gregory on Life and Death.

Part Three of The Current

Death Penalty: Dick Gregory

For the forty per cent of U.S. citizens who don't think the death penalty is applied often enough -- September 21st, was a good day. Two men felt the executioner's needle that Wednesday. And a few moments later, never felt anything again.

No execution is free of controversy, but the death of Troy Davis that night shook the world. Protests were held around the globe. Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and Pope Benedict pleaded for clemency. Davis was convicted of the 1989 killing of an off-duty police officer in Savannah, Georgia. But many people believe his trial was seriously flawed and Georgia killed an innocent man.

Outside a Texas prison that same night, few mourned the execution of Lawrence Brewer. Brewer was a white supremacist, convicted of the 1998 murder of James Byrd who had been chained to the back of a truck and dragged along the roads of Jasper, Texas.

The death was so harrowing, there were few to protest Brewer's final punishment. But Dick Gregory was there. The social activist and comedian is passionately opposed to the death penalty. He joined us from Washington, DC.

Related Links:

Last Word - Dick Gregory

Finally, before Dick Gregory was a well-known opponent of the death penalty -- he was an opponent of discrimination. He was so good at masking his anger with humour, he became a successful comedian. On today's Last word, we aired a little of Dick Gregory getting his digs in.

Other segments from today's show:

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