Screen Legend, Civil Rights Leader Ruby Dee Dies at 91 - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Screen Legend, Civil Rights Leader Ruby Dee Dies at 91

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By the time Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis finally tied the knot in 1948, Dee said, "It felt almost like an appointment we finally got around to keeping."

For the rest of us it was good they kept another appointment, their collective date with history.

"She walks in beauty, like the night..."

MORE: Daughter: Actress Ruby Dee dead at 91
MORE: Ruby Dee's legacy of activism, acting mourned


The words of famed poet Lord Byron were not written about the famed actress and civil rights activist, but with her death at the age of 91, it is easy to see why many felt she was the living embodiment of the description. With her life-partner, the iconic actor Davis, the duo created a magical bond that extended beyond the stage lights to the picket lines of protest.


“In many ways she and Ossie were a lot like Maya, in that they were first generation poets and actors and they actually laid the foundation for so many others that came behind who were really interested in pursuing careers in the arts and particularly the theatre,” says National Civil Rights Museum Executive Director Beverly Robertson.

Individually, Dee's acting accomplishments included an Emmy and a nomination for Best Supporting Actress at the Academy Awards in 2008 for playing the powerful mother of Denzel Washington in the movie "American Gangster." But, it was for her and posthumously her husband's work on the frontlines of the civil rights movement, alongside Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., which garnered her the National Civil Rights Museum's first Lifetime Achievement Award, and a trip to Memphis in 2005 --  she was asked about what should be the mission of the next generation in the fight for equality.

“How do we put all these pieces together in a very sharp thrust? Not only for black people, but for humankind,” said Dee back in 2005.

“They always were committed to the civil rights movement even if it meant at the risk of them losing an opportunity to perform. So, we have truly lost a special gem and an iconic figure,” Robertson said.

Dee and Davis provided the voices for the audio guided children’s tour of the NCRM when it opened in 1991.

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