Legend of stage and screen Ruby Dee passed away Wednesday evening at the age of 91. Cleveland–born and New York–raised, Dee broke down walls and made a name for herself at a time where there weren’t many opportunities for black women on stage or on the screen.
Her body of work is bountiful and varied. She inaugurated the role of Ruth Younger in A Raisin in the Sun, opposite Sidney Poitier, and later played the part on screen as well. She was Mother Sister in Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing. She wrote or co-wrote several books. She was an activist. She was nominated for eight Emmy Awards. She was nominated for an Oscar in 2007 for her role in American Gangster.
But when I heard that she had died, the first thing that came to mind was a 1995 production she starred in with her husband, Ossie Davis, called Two Hah Hahs and a Homeboy. (Davis died in 2005.) One of the most poignant moments in the production is a monologue titled “When I’m Gone.” The couple shares the stage, bathed in soft light, and Dee instructs her partner how to react when she returns to the essence. “Beg God to bring me back,” she says, chuckling, “and give you another chance.” Sounds about right.
TODAY IN SLATE
The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola
The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.
I Bought the Huge iPhone. I’m Already Thinking of Returning It.
Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.
Students Aren’t Going to College Football Games as Much Anymore
And schools are getting worried.
Global Marches Demand Action on Climate Change
- Protesters Take to the Streets to Sound Alarm on Climate Change in New York, Across the World
- Knife-Carrying White House Jumper is Vet who Feared “Atmosphere Was Collapsing”
- North Korea: American Sentenced to Hard Labor Wanted to Become “Second Snowden”
- Almost One in Four Americans Support Idea of Splitting From the Union
Blacks Don’t Have a Corporal Punishment Problem
Americans do. But when blacks exhibit the same behaviors as others, it becomes part of a greater black pathology.