National Medal of Arts Notable Quotable: Ruby Dee

By Paulette Beete
black and white publicity photo of Ruby Dee with quote

1972 publicity photo of Ruby Dee, via Wikimedia Commons

"The greatest gift is not being afraid to question." — Ruby Dee

Ruby Dee was an award-winning actress, Civil Rights activist, poet, and playwright. In 1995 she received the National Medal of Arts (with her husband Ossie Davis).

Listen to her inspiring words on the human spirit—recorded as part of the NEA Big Read materials on Ernest Gaines' A Lesson Before Dyinghere.