An eulogy by Marshall Rose, Director Office of Equity and Diversity, Bowling = Green State University Bowling Green, = Ohio 43403
I'm truly saddened to learn of the death of Ossie Davis. = I'm not sure how many people appreciate his consequential role in the struggle = of Black people in the course of his long and productive life. I've always considered him a brilliant man and someone with an uncanny ability to = capture in words the struggle and aspiration of Black people. He was one = of the few people who I would make special efforts to watch or listen to if I = heard he was going to be interviewed on radio or television. =
Although not widely known for it, Ossie Davis was a critical = thinker, as well as an activist, an artist with a deep believe that he should use = his art, his fame, and his celebrity to promote the well-being of Black people. He was a confidant to Black leaders without regard = to any ideological considerations; as long as he believed they were working = toward our collective good. So you find him lending counsel, advice, and = support to a range of leaders who might not have always seen eye to eye on strategies. I've always admired people who had the ability to use language almost magically. Who can produce words to say things = that seem to perfectly capture the feelings of the moment. Ossie Davis, in = my view, was such a man. In his remembrance, I want to forward two = brief but powerful illustrations of Ossie Davis' eloquence. They are from = events that took place 34 and 40 yers ago, respectively. I go back from = time to time to read these remarks because I believe his assessments are still powerful, viable and timely. Hope you will enjoy them and take a = moment to consider the true measure of this man. Enjoy! = MR
Quote from Keynote address = at first annual Congressional Black Caucus dinner, June = 1971.
"Give us a plan of action. . .a 10 Black Commandments; = simple, strong, that we can carry in our hearts, and in our memories no matter = where we are and reach out and touch and feel the reassurance that there is = behind everything we do a simple, moral, intelligent plan that must be = fulfilled in the course of time even if all of our leaders, one by one fall in = battle, somebody will rise and say, 'Brother!! Our leader died while we were on = page three of the Plan. Now that the funereal is over, let us proceed = to page four."
Eulogy delivered by Ossie Davis at = the funeral of Malcolm X
Faith = Temple Church Of God
"Here - at this final hour, in this quiet place - Harlem has come to bid farewell to one of its brightest hopes -extinguished = now, and gone from us forever. For Harlem is where he worked and where he = struggled and fought - his home of homes, where his heart was, and where his people = are - and it is, therefore, most fitting that we meet once again - in Harlem - to = share these last moments with him. For Harlem has ever been gracious to those who have loved her, have fought her, and = have defended her honor even to the death.
It is not in the memory of man that this beleaguered, unfortunate, but nonetheless proud community has found a braver, more gallant young = champion than this Afro-American who lies before us - unconquered still. I say = the word again, as he would want me to : Afro-American - Afro-American Malcolm, = who was a master, was most meticulous in his use of words. Nobody knew better = than he the power words have over minds of men. Malcolm had stopped being a = 'Negro' years ago. It had become too small, too puny, too weak a word for him. = Malcolm was bigger than that. Malcolm had become an Afro-American and he wanted = - so desperately - that we, that all his people, would become Afro-Americans = too.
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.
Malcolm was our manhood, our living, black manhood! = This was his meaning to his people. And, in honoring him, we honor the best in ourselves. Last year, from Africa, he wrote these words to a friend: 'My journey', he says, 'is almost ended, and I have a much broader scope = than when I started out, which I believe will add new life and dimension to our = struggle for freedom and honor and dignity in the States. I am writing these = things so that you will know for a fact the tremendous sympathy and support we = have among the African States for our Human Rights struggle. The main thing is that = we keep a United Front wherein our most valuable time and energy will not = be wasted fighting each other.' However we may have differed with him - or = with each other about him and his value as a man - let his going from us = serve only to bring us together, now.
Consigning these mortal remains to earth, the common = mother of all, secure in the knowledge that what we place in the ground is no = more now a man - but a seed - which, after the winter of our discontent, will = come forth again to meet us. And we will know him then for what he was and is - a = Prince - our own black shining Prince! - who didn't hesitate to die, because he = loved us so."
Actor Ossie Davis = dies
NEW = YORK (AP) - Ossie Davis, the actor distinguished for roles dealing with racial = injustice on stage, screen and in real life, has died, an aide said Friday. He was = 87.