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Ossie Davis's Geni Profile

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Raiford Chatman Davis

Birthplace: Cogdell, Clinch, Georgia, United States
Death: Died in Miami, Florida, United States
Cause of death: natural causes
Immediate Family:

Husband of Ruby Ann Dee
Father of <private> Davis; <private> Day (Davis) and <private> Muhammad (Davis)

Managed by: Kenneth Kwame Welsh, (C)
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

    • <private> Davis
    • <private> Day (Davis)
    • <private> Muhammad (Davis)

About Ossie Davis

Ossie Davis (December 18, 1917 – February 4, 2005) was an African-American film actor, director, poet, playwright, writer, and social activist.

During World War II, Davis spent four years in the Army, mainly as a surgical technician in an African-American unit of a military hospital in Liberia, where he tended wounded soldiers and local inhabitants. He served in the Army Medical Corps in Liberia for nearly three years, helping to establish a hospital there for African-American soldiers -- the Army, of course, was still segregated. There he penned and performed a few shows for the troops.

Ossie Davis: an appreciation


Side notes

In February, New Orleans' D-Day Museum – in cooperation with Tulane's Amistad Research Center and The Eisenhower Center for American Studies at the University of New Orleans – hosted a first-ever national symposium on the African-American experience in World War II. Black vets celebrated their place in history, but also traded with historians stories of discrimination, protest and reprisal. Even keynote speaker Ossie Davis revealed a deadly racial incident he witnessed while stationed in Liberia. The symposium title, "Double Victory: Fighting on Two Fronts" alludes to a grassroots civil rights movement that called for "Victory at Home, Victory Abroad." The movement had no leaders, but some of its adherents were so passionate that they burned or carved a "double V" on their chests.

"Troublemakers" in the controversial 364th Regiment had those "double Vs," according to Army intelligence files.

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Ossie Davis's Timeline

December 18, 1917
Clinch, Georgia, United States
Age 30
February 27, 1965
Age 47
New York, New York, New York, United States

Actor and activist Ossie Davis delivered the eulogy, describing Malcolm X as "our shining black prince".

There are those who will consider it their duty, as friends of the Negro people, to tell us to revile him, to flee, even from the presence of his memory, to save ourselves by writing him out of the history of our turbulent times. Many will ask what Harlem finds to honor in this stormy, controversial and bold young captain—and we will smile. Many will say turn away—away from this man, for he is not a man but a demon, a monster, a subverter and an enemy of the black man—and we will smile. They will say that he is of hate—a fanatic, a racist—who can only bring evil to the cause for which you struggle! And we will answer and say to them: Did you ever talk to Brother Malcolm? Did you ever touch him, or have him smile at you? Did you ever really listen to him? Did he ever do a mean thing? Was he ever himself associated with violence or any public disturbance? For if you did you would know him. And if you knew him you would know why we must honor him.

Davis, Ossie (February 27, 1965). "Malcolm X's Eulogy". The Official Website of Malcolm X. Retrieved 11 March 2011.

February 4, 2005
Age 87
Miami, Florida, United States