Ruby Dee: An Actress Who Marched On Washington And Onto The Screen : Code Switch : NPR: Born Ruby Ann Wallace in the early 1920s in Cleveland, actress and civil rights activist Ruby Dee most identified with the part of New York City where she was raised.
"I don't know who I would be if I weren't this child from Harlem, this woman from Harlem. It's in me so deep," Dee told NPR's Tell Me More in 2007.
She died Wednesday of natural causes at her home in New Rochelle, N.Y., surrounded by her children and grandchildren. She was 91.
Dee, who took the surname of her first husband, blues singer Frankie Dee, grew up in Harlem's rich cultural neighborhood, writing poetry. Over the years she would become a playwright, screenwriter, journalist and one of the most prominent actresses of her time, known for her roles in the 1961 film A Raisin in the Sun and the 2007 film American Gangster, for which she was nominated for an Academy Award.