Back in the day, black entertainers could not stay in hotels when they came to Chicago to perform. At our family home at 9201 S. Perry, once Dick Gregory rang the bell. WOW!! I happened to answer it, and I was overwhelmed with surprise. My grandmother wasn’t!! Why?
The period of discriminating even against entertainers had ended. But the tradition of entertainers staying with black folks continued. My grandmother was nobody special AT ALL. But, in the States, pre-1960s, black entertainers had to keep relationships with ordinary black folks, because they needed a place to stay when they were in town entertaining. So, even after that ugly period ended, the tradition kept on for a while.
This was during the time when Dick first started changing his diet, and was still kind of chubby. Okay, so I let him in. My grandmother looks at him, frowning up, and says, “Boy, what is all this crazy stuff about you don’t eat pork no more!! Oh, you gone EAT some pork TONIGHT!!!”
She was serious, and stormed off to the Kitchen. LOL!! Dick looked at the rest of us, shrugged his shoulders, and says, “Guess I’ll start my vegetarian life TOMORROW.” This was just normal. My dad didn’t even blink an eye. He was in the living room, laid back watching TV. Dick went in there and said, “Hey, Nate, whussup?” MY dad answered, “Hey, Dick,” and kept watching TV. Dick was just family.