Ossie Davis & Ruby Dee

Ossie & Ruby's Journey Through the 20th & 21st Centuries

Timeline 1960-1979: < Part 1 | Part 2 • Timeline 1980-present

1967
Martin Luther King, Jr. publicly speaks out against the Vietnam War in New York City at a meeting of Clergy and Laity Concerned about Vietnam — at which Ossie also speaks.

1968
Ruby makes her screenwriting debut with Jules Dassin’s Up Tight!
Martin Luther King, Jr. is assassinated in Memphis. Ossie and Ruby attend the Memorial march in Memphis, where Ossie speaks, and then the funeral in Atlanta.

    Shirley Chisholm becomes the first African American woman to be elected to Congress.
1970
Ossie Davis makes his directing debut with Cotton Comes to Harlem Ossie travels to Nigeria, to direct a film adaptation of Wole Soyinka’s Kongi’s Harvest.
 

Ruby wins Obie and Drama Desk awards for her performance in Boesman and Lena.

Purlie, the musical based on Ossie’s play, garners five Tony nominations and and wins two awards.
1971
Fifteen African American members of Congress form the Congressional Black Caucus to present a unified African American voice in Congress.

Ossie Davis addresses the Congressional Black Congress.

In collaboration with other artists, Ossie founds Third World Cinema Corporation, which aims to “increase minority presence in all aspects of the film industry.”

1972
Ruby compiles and edits Glowchild, an anthology of poetry written by young people.

1975
Ossie and Ruby are awarded the Actors’ Equity Paul Robeson Citation “for outstanding creative contributions both in the performing arts and in society at large.”

Ossie and Ruby begin their weekly radio show, The Ossie Davis & Ruby Dee Story Hour, on National Black Network.

1976
Ossie and Ruby partner with her sorority, Delta Sigma Theta, to produce the film Countdown at Kusini in Nigeria.

1977
Alex Haley’s Roots airs on ABC.

First grandchild, Ihsaana, is born
.

1978
Ruby begins a weekly column, Swinging Gently, for the New York Amsterdam News.
1979
Ruby’s first play, the musical Take It From The Top (developed in workshop at Joseph Papp’s Public Theater), is produced at Woodie King’s New Federal Theatre.

Ossie’s play, Escape to Freedom, wins the Jane Addams’ Children’s Book Award and the ALA’s Coretta Scott King Award.

Second grandchild, Muta’Ali, is born.

Timeline 1960-1979: < Part 1 | Part 2 • Timeline 1980-present


Scene from Kongi's Harvest, 1970.

Ruby in Boseman and Lena, 1970.



Escape to Freedom cover

Ossie's play about the young Frederick Douglass won the Coretta Scott King and Jane Addams' awards.