Oct. 18, 2017

Saluting 150 Years Of Black Excellence, Ossie Davis, In His Words, My Voice

Ossie Davis was one of America's most gifted and talented stage and screen actors. He and his wife Ruby Dee formed a dynamic powerful force for the cause of justice and equality for black people in this nation and the world. If you ever look up the phrase "committed to a cause" you will see Ruby and Ossie as examples of what those words truly mean. Ossie Davis was simply a black man of incredible strengths and very few weaknesses. On the stage or the screen, Ossie Davis, the actor commanded and performed his roles to an incredible level of excellence. Off the stage and in the communities across this nation when working to uplift black people from the barriers of injustice, Ossie Davis had few peers. Those personal attributes that Ossie displayed were formulated when he was developing his craft and his commitment to humanity while at Howard University.

One the most powerful roles that Ossie Davis ever had was when he was given the job to speak the eulogy at the funeral of his friend Malcolm X. Malcolm had been murdered at the Audubon Theatre in Harlem on February 21, 1965. The murder resulted in the community of Harlem, New York being overcome and consumed in a virtual state of vengeance, Harlem was looking for ways to strike back at the act of violence. There needed to be a black community reckoning for Malcolm X's murder. Holding back the emotions that would have overcome any normal person when eulogizing a close friend. Ossie Davis gave one of the finest performances in his life speaking the truth about the "Prince" of black people throughout this nation and the world. As he spoke the emotions that reflected human anger transitioned to a community reflecting the majesty of a man who in many ways came years before his time. Those words he spoke that day, in Ossie Davis's words, my voice are delivered today. I will pay a special tribute to one of Howard University's brightest stars, who rose to that day to epic levels of human understanding discuss the humanity of an iconic individual, Malcolm X (el-Hajj Malik el-Shabazz).

If ever a man was expressly right for the role it was Ossie Davis that afternoon. I believe truly that his words were delivered by him directly by ALLAH himself. Ossie was God's messenger and we will be forever indebted to Ossie Davis for his audacious life and gifts.