Ossie Davis -RIP

Brother Ossie Davis has left us. The remarkable actor and civil rights activist passed away at the age of 87 on Friday, February 4th, 2005. He was found in a Miami hotel room while working on a new film titled Retirement. Ossie was married to actress Ruby Dee for more than 50 years, and the couple not only worked together artistically… they struggled together politically. Ossie and Ruby had been involved with the civil rights movement from the very beginning, and Ossie spoke at the funerals of Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X.

The eulogy Ossie delivered for Malcolm in February 1965 at the Faith Temple Church of God is one of the most poignant testimonials ever given… and marked a people’s transition from “Negro” to African American. With an acting career that spanned more than half a century, Ossie’s list of accomplishments in movies and television are too numerous to list. He helped combat and destroy the “color line” that kept Black folks off of America’s TV and movie screens. He combined his artistry with a fierce commitment to social justice and peace, and he remained true to those principles his entire life.

Speaking at the historic Riverside Church on March 27th, 2003, just days after the US invaded Iraq, Davis lambasted the war and its supporters by saying, “They have their sense of duty; I have mine. They are loyal to their commander in chief, and I am loyal to mine. My commander in chief is Martin Luther King Jr., and more than 30 years ago he stood in these sacred halls and gave me my marching orders.” Brother Ossie Davis was, and remains, a true man of the people, an artist’s artist.

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