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Black Activists - Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee

Updated on February 7, 2012

Ossie Davis was born December 18, 1917 in Cogdell, Georgia and died February 4, 2005 in Miami Beach, Florida. Ruby Dee was born October 27, 1924 (although some note that she was born anywhere between 1922 and 1928) in Cleveland, Ohio. Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee were married for almost 60 years until Ossie’s death. Davis and Dee appeared together on screen and off screen. Ossie and Ruby had great on screen chemistry putting magic on everything they did. Off screen they worked well together fighting for the rights of African Americans.



Ossie Davis always wanted to be an actor but struggled against racism to achieve his dreams. Ossie Davis worked hard to not play stereotypical roles and tried to follow the example set by Sidney Poitier. Although Ossie Davis did not find the commercial success that other actors such as Bill Cosby did, he still made quite an impression with his numerous roles. Davisstarred in several Spike Lee movies including Do The Right Thing and Jungle Fever. Ossie also starred in several movies with his wife Ruby Dee.Davislent his voice as the narrator to the sitcom Evening Shade which starred Burt Reynolds. Ossie was more than just an actor he also directed several movies including Cotton Comes toHarlem. Ossie Davis was a very talented actor and director.


Ossie Davis was very instrumental in the Civil Rights Movement. Ossie worked with various organizations and his wife Ruby Dee to help end discrimination and racism. Ossie Davis was close personal friends with Martin Luther King, Jr., Jesse Jackson, Malcolm X and many others. Daviswas very instrumental in organizing the March onWashington. A wonderful speakerDavisgave his voice and thoughts to several important events; the March onWashington, Malcolm X’s eulogy as well as a tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr following his untimely death. Ossie Davis was very vocal about discrimination and worked hard against racism.



RubyDeestarted her acting career on Broadway and then received national recognition with the film The Jackie Robinson Story. Deeis best known for her performance in A Raisin in the Sun. RubyDeeacted in many movies some of which she acted with her husband Ossie Davis. RubyDeealso starred in several Spike Lee films and was on television as well. RubyDeereceived numerous nominations, accolades and awards for her acting, she is a true talent.


RubyDee was very vocal about her political activism with her husband Ossie Davis. RubyDee is a member of several civil rights groups such as Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), the NAACP, Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) and Student Nonviolent Coordinating. RubyDee was very vocal during the civil rights movement, fighting for the rights of everyone. In 2005 Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis were awarded the Lifetime Achievement Freedom Award which was presented by theNationalCivilRightsMuseum for the work that they have done for the civil rights movement.

Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee was an incredible couple. They acted together, were active together and received accolades and awards together. Their marriage lasted for nearly 60 years because they enjoyed what they did whether it was acting or activism. Ossie and Ruby understood that no matter what, family came first.


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    • Triplet Mom profile imageAUTHOR

      Triplet Mom 

      6 years ago from West Coast

      pmccray - They were a dynamite duo! Thank you so much!

    • pmccray profile image


      6 years ago from Utah

      I love it . . "Pearlie Victorious" I remember watching this on TV when I was young and watched it every time it came on. It is still hilarious. The Davis' were a dynamite duo, warriors on the screen and off. Thank you for sharing, voted up, marked useful, interesting and book marked

    • Triplet Mom profile imageAUTHOR

      Triplet Mom 

      6 years ago from West Coast

      Thank you Nan - I am really enjoying learning more.

    • Nan Mynatt profile image

      Nan Mynatt 

      6 years ago from Illinois

      Thanks for the education, you have acquired a lot of information on the success of African American. I marked you up on this one.

    • Triplet Mom profile imageAUTHOR

      Triplet Mom 

      6 years ago from West Coast

      Thank you junko! I am really loving this project.

    • junko profile image


      6 years ago

      Thanks Mom, Iam glad to finds your hubs in African American history month. This month I will read and comment on as many as my eyes will allow.


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