Ruby Dee: Advice From a Legend

Ruby Dee receives  the 2008 Lifetime Achievement Award during the 16th Annual Diversity Awards at the Globe Theatre, Universal Studios Hollywood, Nov. 23, 2008, in Universal City, Calif.
Timothy Norris/Getty Images
Ruby Dee receives  the 2008 Lifetime Achievement Award during the 16th Annual Diversity Awards at the Globe Theatre, Universal Studios Hollywood, Nov. 23, 2008, in Universal City, Calif.
Timothy Norris/Getty Images

Legendary actress, activist and writer Ruby Dee passed away Wednesday at the age of 91. Her career spanned nearly seven decades and made a significant impact, especially in black film and theater. And a lifetime chock-full of rich experiences qualified her to deliver advice that we can all live by. 

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1. On Courage

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“The greatest gift is not being afraid to question.”Ruby Dee

2. On the Beauty Within

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“The kind of beauty I want most is the hard-to-get kind that comes from within: strength, courage, dignity.” Ruby Dee

3. On Overcoming Fear

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“God, make me so uncomfortable that I will do the very thing I fear.” Ruby Dee

4. On Inequality

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“Classism and greed are making insignificant all the other kinds of isms.” Ruby Dee

5. On Youth

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“That’s what being young is all about. You have the courage and the daring to think that you can make a difference. You’re not prone to measure your energies in time. You’re not likely to live by equations.” Ruby Dee

6. On Long-Lasting Love

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“If it is possible to learn to love somebody more than when you first married them, I am lucky enough to say that we did.” Ruby Dee on life with her husband, Ossie Davis

7. On Doing Work That You Love

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“I really don’t believe in retiring as long as you can breathe.” Ruby Dee

Diamond Sharp is an editorial fellow at The Root. Follow her on Twitter.

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