NAACP Tributes the Life of Actress and Activist Ruby Dee


In tribute to an extraordinary, multi-faceted career spanning more than seven decades as an actor, author, director, producer and civil rights activist, the NAACP mourns the passing of Ruby Dee.

Roslyn M. Brock, Chairman of the NAACP Board of Directors:

Today we lost a true gem in the civil rights and entertainment community.  With a career spanning seven decades and numerous achievements – including being an NAACP Spingarn recipient in 2008, Ruby Dee blazed a trail for African American artists by advocating for racial equality in the performing arts.  She was a courageous and fearless activist, who tirelessly committed herself to social, economic and political causes, including emceeing the historic 1963 March on Washington. Ms. Dee will be deeply missed; but her contributions and legacy will live with us forever.

Lorraine C. Miller, Interim NAACP President and CEO:

Emmy-award winner and civil rights activist Ruby Dee was an iconic force in Hollywood that the world will always remember. Through her many powerful roles, Ms. Dee paved the way for a generation of talented African American actresses. A pioneer in both her art and her activism Ms. Dee, alongside her late husband Ossie Davis, served as masters of ceremonies for the historic 1963 March on Washington and she spoke at both of the funerals for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X. In a career spanning seven decades, Ms. Dee will be forever known as a powerhouse in the performing arts community and in the arena of civil rights. In recognition of her commitment to making the dream of equality and justice a reality for all, Ms.  Dee received the NAACP's prestigious Spingarn Medal. Our dear friend will be sorely missed.

NAACP honors/affiliations include:

Life Member

Spingarn Medalist (2008)

Chairman's Award honoree (2008)

Image Award Hall of Fame inductee (1989)

Image Award winner (two-time)( five-time nominee)