Known for her ground-breaking activism during the Civil Rights era, as well as her equally radical acting career, Ruby Dee died at the age of 91. She was one of the first black actresses to make her mark on Hollywood, along side her husband of over 55 years, Ozzie Davis. In the beginning of her career, as well as working with Davis, she often worked with Sidney Poitier, and later in life, she worked twice with Spike Lee and received her only Oscar nomination, for Best Supporting Actor, in 2007’s American Gangster, directed by Ridley Scott.

Check out these Ruby Dee movies at the Niles Public Library:


American Gangster (also on Blu-ray)

Betty and Coretta

Decoration Day

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Not the best WWII film ever made, but all-in-all a good story and a strong ending make this film a above-average war picture. Directed by Spike Lee, all of the type around this one at the time was that this is the black WWII movie. Lee felt that war movies of recent times have claimed to be very realistic, though he never saw any black faces among the soldiers. Miracle at St. Anna was Lee’s way to rectify this. But, it is so much more than a “blacks in WWII” film. I felt that most of the story, set in Italy, has little to do with race. And that Italy part takes up most of the film…and should since it is the core of the tale. And, yes, this is a tale…it’s a fairy tale about a young boy and his “chocolate giant.” With all of the mindlessly violent and ruthless WWII movies out there, at least this one offers a little allegoric change of pace to the non-stop action of wartime. Check it out for yourself!


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