37th Life Achievement Recipient, 2000
Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee
Award acceptance speech:
RUBY DEE: Oh, thank you, thank you. Well, well, thank you. Thank you. Thank you. [applause continues] Thank you.
OSSIE DAVIS: Thank you.
DEE: Thank you.
DAVIS: Here we are in Hollywood.
DAVIS: In heaven.
DEE: As close to laughter as we are to tears.
DAVIS: We thank you.
DEE: Thank you, thank you.
DAVIS AND DEE: We thank you.
DEE: For the plaudits of our union and our peers.
DAVIS: Celebrities, we are, and stars, we actors. Peace workers on the Hollywood plantation. [laughter] But that is not all. We are more than that.
DEE: We are artists also, and workers above all. We are image makers. Why can’t we image makers become peacemakers, too. Why cannot we, in such a time as this, use all the magic of our vaunted powers to lift the pistol from the schoolboy’s backpack? [applause] And replace it with bright images of peace, with images of hope and faith in humankind. Of life lit by some large vision of goodness and beauty and truth?
DAVIS: Artists, we are, but we are citizens also. And as free men and women living in a democracy, we cannot escape our First Amendment obligation to our children. To elevate by precept and example–
DEE: To lead.
DAVIS: To inspire.
DEE: And to challenge.
DAVIS: To touch their hearts and minds
DEE: With love’s redeeming fire.
DAVIS: This is our right.
DEE: Our duty.
DAVIS: This is our privilege.
DEE: Tonight, again, we profoundly thank you.
DAVIS: Thank you.
DEE: Again and again.