Starring Ruby Dee

Starring Ruby Dee

6 Episodes

Actor and activist Ruby Dee defied the prejudices and racist barriers of her time to forge a decades-long career at the forefront of both the civil rights movement and the evolving, increasingly nuanced representation of Black Americans on-screen. Emerging from Harlem’s American Negro Theater alongside fellow greats like Sidney Poitier and Harry Belafonte, Dee frequently combined her art and activism in studio films and passion projects alike, including TAKE A GIANT STEP, one of the first Hollywood movies to tackle systemic racism, and UPTIGHT, a blistering portrait of the Black Power movement made in response to the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.

Subscribe Share
Starring Ruby Dee
  • The Tall Target

    Episode 1

    Directed by Anthony Mann • 1951 • United States
    Starring Dick Powell, Paula Raymond, Adolphe Menjou

    Former police officer John Kennedy (Dick Powell) doesn’t have a ticket, but he’s determined to stay aboard the overnight train rolling from New York to Washington, DC. He’s convinced that someone ...

  • St. Louis Blues

    Episode 2

    Directed by Allen Reisner • 1958 • United States
    Starring Nat King Cole, Eartha Kitt, Cab Calloway

    A cast of African American musical legends—including Nat King Cole, Pearl Bailey, Cab Calloway, Ella Fitzgerald, Eartha Kitt, and Mahalia Jackson—star in this song-studded retelling of the life of ...

  • Take a Giant Step

    Episode 3

    Directed by Philip Leacock • 1959 • United States
    Starring Johnny Nash, Estelle Hemsley, Ruby Dee

    One of the rare 1950s Hollywood films to feature an all-Black leading cast was also one of the first to address systemic racism. Adapted from the Broadway play by Louis S. Peterson, TAKE A GIANT STE...

  • The Balcony

    Episode 4

    Directed by Joseph Strick • 1963 • United States
    Starring Shelley Winters, Peter Falk, Lee Grant

    A powerhouse cast brings Jean Genet’s incendiary political stage play to the screen. In an unnamed city, Madame Irma (Shelley Winters) runs a brothel where customers explore their sexual fantasies th...

  • Uptight

    Episode 5

    Directed by Jules Dassin • 1968 • United States
    Starring Julian Mayfield, Ruby Dee

    In the wake of Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination, a band of black activists in Cleveland begin arming themselves for revolution. But when the unstable Tank (Julian Mayfield), increasingly uncomfortable wit...

  • Buck and the Preacher

    Episode 6

    Directed by Sidney Poitier • 1972 • United States
    Starring Sidney Poitier, Harry Belafonte, Ruby Dee

    Civil War veteran Buck (Sidney Poitier) has signed on to guide a wagon train of newly freed slaves moving to claim homesteads in the west. Along with Buck’s wife, Ruth (Ruby Dee), who works tirel...