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Archive for June, 2014

RUBY DEE (October 27, 1922 – June 11, 2014) | In Memoriam

Thursday, June 12th, 2014


“Ruby Dee was a phenomenally rare artist and a jewel to our nation and community. I was privileged to work on several civil rights cases with her and her husband Ossie Davis. She was as committed to social justice as she was to the screen and stage. She will be greatly missed. “
— The Rev. Al Sharpton

“I’m crushed by this bad news and I know Ruby has already been embraced in a warm, loving hug from her life partner of 57 years — Mr. Ossie Davis. It has been one of my great blessings in life to work with two of the finest artists and activists — Ruby and Ossie.” 
— Spike Lee

Courtesy Photo (Ruby Dee at Drama Desk Awards)

“All these sapphires, rubies and pearls!”
— Al Young


WSWS banner

“The illustrious African American stage and screen actress, writer and social activist Ruby Dee died Wednesday at her home in New Rochelle, a suburb of New York City, at the age of 91. Dee, married to fellow actor Ossie Davis for more than half a century, is still perhaps best known for stage performances in Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun (1959), about a working class family in Chicago, and Davis’ Purlie Victorious (1961), as well as the screen version of the former released in 1961 | Read David Walsh’s complete World Socialist Web Site tribute


“Stage and screen legend Ruby Dee, who personified grace, grit and progress at a time when African-American women were given little space in movies and on stage, died Wednesday in New Rochelle, N.Y. She was 91 | Read the complete NY Daily News obituary


Ruby Dee@YouTube
button camA feast of Ruby Dee interview clips at YouTube


Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee in 2004

“I met Ossie Davis at the First Negro Writers Conference in 1964 at Asilomar near Monterey, CA. He told us: ‘The first thing I did after I married Ruby was to get her off of Amos ‘n’ Andy.'”
— Al Young


Beautiful Black Women| the 1968 retro doo-wop classic with Amiri Baraka and the Spirit House Movers



Nat Cole & Ruby Dee 1957 St Louis Woman button camClick image to watch

Nat King Cole and Ruby Dee in a still from the rarely revisited St. Louis Woman (1958), in which Pearl Bailey starred, too.


 The official Ossie Davis/Ruby Dee website


NOW IN SILENCE, MUTE (‘Where I Write #26’ at The Rumpus)

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014


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Ernest Lawson: “Spring Night, Harlem River” (1913)


Where I Write #26: ‘Now In Silence, Mute’


Now in silence, mute, a place still quiet

within reason, ear-protected, I hear

the flow and pump of blood. My loud

and your soft heart beat out as dance

stun and shush us where equipoise


and noise don’t mix. Unsteadying, a diet

of uninvited cell phone monologues, big

overseer helicopters, TV screech and

media preachments, ambulance, paramedic

rescue shrieks, the way too-trafficked


hum and squall and scream of barriers

that mask the sound of handcuff clicks.

Anointing to me, annoying to some, silence –

soundtrack to our native zone – serenades.

As every trembling star and particle feeds


on space, so every song and utterance

leans against silence: a resource so

unheard of, we can’t help but kill it. Dead.

The silence of a smug, unthinking nation

– that’s something else again. Citizen


as pathogen. I write through those ears,

too, from silence breathed as nourishment

that charges and changes. Consider the kiss

in which we find and switch each other on

– the silence I write from recharges this.

©2014 by Al Young
This poem, commissioned by poet-editor Corrie Greathouse, debuted at the online journal in celebration of the author’s 75th birthday