Legend of theater and film, Ruby Dee, passed away Wednesday at her home in New Rochelle, New York, at the age of 91. Ms. Dee who was married to the late Ossie Davis, was a Hollywood and Broadway star whose career spanned more than seven decades. She was nominated for an Oscar for her performance in “American Gangster” and won many coveted awards, including multiple Emmys and an Obie, but her role as a social justice activist — particularly during the civil rights era — earned her the greatest admiration from the activist community.
A member of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), the NAACP, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), Delta Sigma Theta sorority and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), Dee was a solid activist who did not shy away from unpopular causes.
Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee used their celebrity to bring light to the injustices suffered by people who had no voice. They spoke out in protest against the acts of the House Committee on Un-American Activities. They worked along side both Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X. They voiced opposition to the execution of the Rosenbergs and stood in protest of the shooting of Amadou Diallo which resulted in their arrests.
Ms. Dee’s unfailing support for the oppressed could be seen on and off the stage and screen from the early days of the civil rights movement well into her senior years. Her committment to social justice was even evident in the roles she selected from The Jackie Robinson Story (1950) to her work in The Lifetime Betty and Correta film (2013).
Publisher, LA Progressive