Oct. 27, 1924
Actress Ruby Dee was born in Cleveland, Ohio.
Starting in the 1940s, she acted on Broadway, in movies and on television, starring alongside Sidney Poitier and others. She and her husband, Ossie Davis, acted together and served as master and mistress of ceremonies at the 1963 March on Washington. They were friends with both Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. and later hosted a two-hour special, “The Second American Revolution.”
Dee spoke passionately about “a racism that has made rage the basic rhythm of our lives. A racism that has trampled our self-esteem and numbed hope. Racism, that cancer on the bosom of our nation, that gnaws at the psyche of black America and keeps us screaming and shaking for relief. … Those who try to overcome in spite of all link us to survival, to hope, to ourselves. And so we must keep on telling the stories of our heroes and heroines, sung and unsung, as best we can. Because it is they who urge us to hang on, to join hands, to move relentlessly toward greater understanding among all people, to move toward justice and toward love.”
During her career, she won a Grammy, Emmy, Screen Actors Guild Award and Kennedy Center Honor. In 2007, she became the second oldest woman to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role in the movie “American Gangster.” She died in 2014.