The Archives of Legendary Couple Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis Are Now Open To The Public at The Schomburg


February 11, 2020

Yes! Real Black history!

The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture has made the archives of Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis available to the public, NewsOne reports.

The archives of the late stars were acquired two years ago by the institution. Their items are a part of the Home to Harlem initiative, which is focused on deep diving into little known parts of Black history in Harlem through the lens of African Americans with personal ties to the city. 


Among the items acquired are postcards and letters the couple exchanged with civil rights leaders like Malcolm X, Betty Shabazz, and Coretta Scott King. There are conversations on display with historical Black figures like James Baldwin, Langston Hughes, Gwendolyn Brooks, and Paul Robeson. There are also transcripts from the couple’s radio and television shows Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee Story Hour and With Ossie & Ruby as well as the original script for “A Raisin in the Sun,” that Ruby Dee received. 

Kevin Young, Director of the Schomburg Center, issued a statement about the archives saying, “Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis were pillars of creativity, friendship, and support during the greatest artistic and political movements of our time. Their love for each other and for their closest friends, as well as their commitment to advancing social progress through the arts and advocacy, is reflected in the vastness of this archive.”

Initially, these sacred items were only available to researchers but the Schomburg wanted to make sure the pieces attracted a broader audience into the conversation about the historic impact the couple made. 


“Together, these significant archives represent the pinnacle of Black excellence, with a particular focus on Black women,” said a statement from the Schomburg Center on the New York Public Library site.

For more information visit schomburgcenter.org.

Photo Courtesy of Chester Higgins Jr./The New York Times


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