Tribute To Ruby Dee: By Eric Holder

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The peerless Ruby Dee

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder released the following statement Friday on the passing of actress Ruby Dee:

I was deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Ruby Dee – a legendary actress and a lifelong champion for civil rights and social justice.

Rising from humble origins to the heights of stardom, Ruby Dee broke down barriers and left her mark from Harlem, to Broadway, to Hollywood and far beyond.  She was also an extraordinary role model for generations of Americans – and particularly for African-American women and girls – during a time when Black stars were rare on both stage and screen.

Tellingly, she was never content merely to advance her own remarkable career, lending her voice and her considerable fame to causes from the American Civil Rights Movement to the global campaign against Apartheid. 

She stood with Dr. King and other leaders at the 1963 March on Washington, and later spoke at his funeral. She won extensive recognition for her achievements on stage, on the radio, in film, and on television. And she never slowed down or let up, delivering powerful performances and speaking out against injustice – often alongside her late husband, the great Ossie Davis – over the course of a career spanning more than six decades.

I will always remember Ruby Dee was a wonderful entertainer, a truly great actress, a fierce activist, and an indispensable leader in the fight for civil rights. 

She left an indelible impression on me when, as a young man, I saw her unforgettable performance in A Raisin in the Sun. Today, I join millions of Americans in expressing my heartfelt condolences, and deepest sympathies, to her family and friends.  Her work, her example, and her memory will endure.  But she will be dearly missed. 

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