One can’t think of iconic Black love without discussing the marriage shared between legendary late actors Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis. Their love story spanned over five decades and continues to inspire generations to believe in true love and the power and happiness it brings.
“The idea that a good marriage is made in heaven and swung down on a golden cord like a gift from God did not coincide with my lifelong observations. Yes the wedding can be a beautiful and exciting, expensive event, or it can be a handshake, or a jump over a broom,
but it is just that – an event, the one that precedes the marriage.” Ossie and Ruby together in the 1960s.
“The idea that a good marriage is made in heaven and swung down on a golden cord like a gift from God did not coincide with my lifelong observations, Dee told ESSENCE.com. “Yes the wedding can be a beautiful and exciting, expensive event, or it can be a handshake, or a jump over a broom,
but it is just that – an event, the one that precedes the marriage.”
Dee and Davis’ personal lives went hand in hand with their professional lives. They starred in countless productions on stage and screen. Here, they are pictured on the set of Go Down, Moses, which featured Dee as Harriet Tubman and Davis as John Ross in July 22, 1963.
“One thing is certain: The best of me has been subsidized by the best of what you are. I have no hungers that you do not feed. And only this poinsettia – the biggest, most expensive in the house can say that for me.” Ossie and children Hasna, Guy, and Nora on vacation in the early 1960s.
“Breakfast became more than just a time for food. We eventually learned how to pray together every day, even if only by phone. I don’t remember when current political, economic and social matters became our favorite topics, but I do remember how they stimulated us, especially you. How you love history, and cross-referencing and comparisons. How, when the children were very young, you told stories and jokes, and spread your spirit over me, too, like a warm blanket on a cold night.” Ruby, Ossie and their daughter Nora at Drop In Diner 1982.
“Ruby, marriage with you was always much more nest than prison, with no desire for the inmate to escape.” Ossie, Nora and Ruby at home Christmas 1952.
“There are times when it is wise for a man to be ignorant – ‘things without remedy should be things without regard.’” Guy , Baby Ihsanna Muhammad, Ruby Dee, and Dr. Hasna Muhammad at home.
“I thought I loved you when we got married but as I see now, I was only in the kindergarten of the proposition. To arrive at love is like working on a double doctorate in the subject of Life.” Ruby and Ossie together circa 1970.
“The great thing about marriage is that it gives a man time to find out what love is all about. Love, in the end, is the object of existence. Sex threads the needle that stitched we twain together, but only love could make time in the corset worthwhile. Sex is always in a hurry, but the making of love takes time.”
“As I listened, I reminded myself again how deeply I loved you. Not only because I believe you value me, but also because I believe we both have arrived, finally, at what love is. When you want and pray for someone to be all God created them to be, despite any personal sacrifice it might entail, that is love. Love is overcoming. Love is passion clothed in infinite patience.” Ossie and Ruby at their 50th anniversary party in NY 1998.
“Fifty years of being married, and what have I learned from it all? I say to my fellow husbands — whose eyeballs may be covered with lust — that the way to possess all women is to love one woman well. […] Marriage is the place which love calls home.” The Davis Family at the White House.
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“We understood that neither of us was going to leave. The wedding is an event. The marriage is a lifetime.” — Ruby Dee
“The most important thing in my life is family. Not career, not anything else. Family.” — Ruby Dee
“At 90 I’ve had time to realize there’s really no such thing as death. When I’m reincarnated, I hope Ossie and I continue the journey together.” — Ruby Dee
“One thing is certain: The best of me has been subsidized by the best of what you are. I have no hungers that you do not feed,” Dee said of her husband of 57 years.