NAACP Celebrates The Life Of Ossie Davis

Distinguished actor dies at 87

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) mourns the passing of Ossie Davis, acclaimed actor, playwright, producer and director. Davis and his wife, Ruby Dee, have been strong supporters of the NAACP. The couple has received five NAACP Image Awards and was inducted into the NAACP Image Awards Hall of Fame in 1989.

Ossie Davis was a noted film, television and stage actor and is best known for his roles in the Broadway and film versions of Lorraine Hansberry's A Raisin in the Sun. He wrote and directed several plays, including Purlie Victorious (1959), a satirical play about racial stereotypes, and Countdown at Kusini (1970), the first American feature film to be shot entirely in Africa by black professionals.

NAACP Interim President and CEO Dennis Courtland Hayes said: "Davis was more than an actor. He was a civil rights activist who marched with the NAACP in Mississippi and the 1963 March on Washington. Throughout his career, he used his artistic talents to advance the cause of civil rights and celebrate black history. His body of work showed his lifelong commitment to social and political activism. The contributions and the help he gave others make him an iconic presence in both black society and American culture."

Married since 1948, Davis and Dee have always brought a sense of consciousness to the American stage. In the 1950s, the couple was blacklisted for protesting the injustices of the McCarthy era. The couple organized fundraisers to pay legal fees for black victims of racially motivated assaults and spoke out about issues such as voting rights, sickle cell disease and police brutality.

Among the many honors Davis and Dee received were the Screen Actors Guild's Life Achievement Award; the U.S. National Medal for the Arts; the Academy of Television, Arts and Sciences Silver Circle Award and the Kennedy Center Honors.

Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation's oldest and largest civil rights organization. Its half-million adult and youth members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities, conducting voter mobilization and monitoring equal opportunity in the public and private sectors.

CONTACT: NAACP Office of Communications 410.580.5125

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