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Ossie Davis was an American actor, writer, social activist and humanitarian. He often performed with wife Ruby Dee in plays, in film and on television.
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Civil rights activist and actor Ossie Davis was born on December 18, 1917, in Cogdell, Georgia. He attended Howard University in Washington, D.C. He made his acting debut in the Broadway play Jeb. During this time, Davis met his wife, actress Ruby Dee, and they married in 1948. Over the years, the couple worked on a number of projects together. Davis wrote the southern comedy Purlie Victorious, in which he co-starred Dee, and the pair reprised their roles for the 1963 film adaptation. Davis and Dee were also very active in the Civil Rights Movement, participating in marches and spoke out for racial equality, and working with friends Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. In 1998, Davis and his wife published With Ossie and Ruby: In This Life Together, a book about their life experiences over the past 50 years. Davis died unexpectedly on February 4, 2005, in Miami Beach, Florida. At the time of his death, he had been working on a film entitled Retirement. That same year, Dee and Davis won a Grammy Award (best spoken word album) for the audio version of With Ossie and Ruby.
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After the Civil War, many of the country's best and brightest black advocates, artists, entrepreneurs and intellectuals moved to the New York City neighborhood of Harlem. Thanks largely to the efforts of these residents, Harlem became both the cradle of a cultural revolution and the heart of the civil rights movement. Meet some of the many people who gave—and continue to give—this neighborhood a voice, simply by calling it home.
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