Angela Davis makes a special appearance to host The HistoryMakers Year in Review - 2002 and share a look back on An Evening With Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee, an hour-long PBS-TV special taped at the Art Institute of Chicago in which Davis interviews and provides a candid glimpse into the lives of the iconic couple. Over 1,000 guests attend this once-in-a-lifetime interview, highlighting the incredible growth the organization had undergone in just three years. The year is abuzz—The HistoryMakers continues to expand, with the help of a Knight Foundation grant and several large corporate donations, and is even named a special collection in the Illinois State Library system. The first Meet the HistoryMakers - A Day of Education launches, bringing together students and educators from around the nation. 234 HistoryMakers, over 100 more than the previous year, are interviewed in all corners of the country from California to Pennsylvania, Minnesota to Mississippi. In addition to behind-the-scenes footage of the PBS-TV taping and other events that year, this evening program includes a never-before-seen performance by singer/songwriter Terisa Griffin, in tribute to Angela Davis and those interviewed in 2002. The night ends with the screening of An Evening With Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee.
Through her activism and scholarship over the last decades, Angela Davis has been deeply involved in our nation’s quest for social justice. Her work as an educator – both at the university level and in the larger public sphere – has always emphasized the importance of building communities of struggle for economic, racial, and gender justice.
Professor Davis’ teaching career has taken her to San Francisco State University, Mills College, and UC Berkeley. She also has taught at UCLA, Vassar, the Claremont Colleges, and Stanford University. She spent the last fifteen years at the University of California, Santa Cruz where she is now Distinguished Professor Emerita of History of Consciousness, an interdisciplinary Ph.D program, and of Feminist Studies.
Angela Davis is the author of nine books and has lectured throughout the United States as well as in Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia, and South America. In recent years a persistent theme of her work has been the range of social problems associated with incarceration and the generalized criminalization of those communities that are most affected by poverty and racial discrimination. She draws upon her own experiences in the early seventies as a person who spent eighteen months in jail and on trial, after being placed on the FBI’s “Ten Most Wanted List.” Davis has also conducted extensive research on numerous issues related to race, gender and imprisonment. Her most recent book is Freedom is a Constant Struggle: Ferguson, Palestine, and the Foundations of a Movement
Davis is a founding member Critical Resistance, a national organization dedicated to the dismantling of the prison industrial complex. Internationally, she is affiliated with Sisters Inside, an abolitionist organization based in Queensland, Australia that works in solidarity with women in prison.
Like many other educators, Professor Davis is especially concerned with the general tendency to devote more resources and attention to the prison system than to educational institutions. Having helped to popularize the notion of a “prison industrial complex,” she now urges her audiences to think seriously about the future possibility of a world without prisons and to help forge a 21st century abolitionist movement.
With technical wizardry and profound creativity, NEA Jazz Master, Terri Lyne Carrington, has become one of the giants of today’s jazz music. A three-time GRAMMY Award-winning drummer, composer, producer, and educator, Carrington began her professional career at only ten years old and received a full scholarship to Berklee College of Music at the age of 11. She is the first female artist to ever win the GRAMMY Award for Best Jazz Instrumental Album, which she received for her 2013 work, “Money Jungle: Provocative in Blue.” Over the four-decade-plus span of her career, she has played with Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Lester Bowie, Cassandra Wilson, Dianne Reeves, Stan Getz, Al Jarreau, John Scofield, Pharoah Sanders, and Esperanza Spalding among countless other jazz luminaries.
In 2019, Carrington received the prestigious Doris Duke Artist Award as recognition of her important work in the field. She has curated musical presentations at Harvard University, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, and the John F. Kennedy Center, and has enjoyed multi-disciplinary collaborations with esteemed visual artists Mickalene Thomas and Carrie Mae Weems. Her artistry and commitment to education earned her honorary doctorates from Manhattan School of Music and Berklee College of Music, where she currently serves as founder and artistic director of the Berklee Institute of Jazz and Gender Justice, whose mission is to recruit, teach, mentor, and advocate for young musicians seeking to study jazz with racial justice and gender justice as guiding principles. She is also the artistic director for the Carr Center in Detroit as well as Berklee’s Summer Jazz Workshop.
To date, she has released eight albums, including her 2011 work, “The Mosaic Project: LOVE and SOUL,” which features a leading cast of superb female instrumentalists and vocalists, such as Regina Carter, Natalie Cole, Lalah Hathaway, Ingrid Jensen, Chaka Khan, Ledisi, Meshell Ndegeocello, Patrice Rushen, Nancy Wilson, Lizz Wright, and others. Carrington also combined forces with David Murray and the late Geri Allen to form the MAC Power Trio. Their 2016 release, “Perfection,” is a tribute to Ornette Coleman. In 2019, Terri Lyne Carrington and Social Science released their critically acclaimed double album, Waiting Game, a project that elevates social justice issues, featuring pianist Aaron Parks and guitarist Matthew Stevens, winning 3 awards in the 2020 Downbeat International Critics Poll for Artist of the Year, Album of the Year and Group of the Year.
Social Studies is an indie rock band from San Francisco, California, composed of Natalia Rogovin (vocals, keyboards), Tom Smith (guitar), Ben McClintock (guitar), Jesse Hudson (bass, backup vocals), and Michael Jirkovsky (drums). Their sound has been described as “structurally trim and sonically dazzling”.The band formed in 2006 with original members Natalia Rogovin (vocals, keyboards), Aaron Weiss (guitar), Darren Henry (bass), and Michael Jirkovsky (drums). They released This Is the World’s Biggest Hammer, an EP with 7 songs, in 2006. After attending SXSW in 2009, and touring the United States, the band reconfigured, replacing bassist Darren Henry with Jason Kick (Maus Haus), and then Jesse Hudson (Dealership), and guitarist Aaron Weiss with Tyler McCauley (Tempo No Tempo) and then Tom Smith (Office, Mazes).
Taped: Friday, October 18, 2002
This hour-long, one-on-one interview provides a candid glimpse into the lives of actors and national treasures, Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee. Taped on October 18, 2002 at The Art Institute of Chicago in front of a live audience, the couple was interviewed by activist and scholar Angela Davis.
Master of Ceremonies Micah Materre, WGN-TV morning news anchor, began the program speaking of the profound influence Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee had on her life. Davis and Dee begin the interview describing their involvement in political and social campaigns. They then lovingly described when they met, during the American Negro Theater’s production of Jeb, and getting married in New Jersey in 1948.
Davis and Dee then told stories of their relationship with Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X as well as how they included their children in their political activism. They reflected on the connection between art and politics and offered ideas on how to encourage younger generations to work for positive change in the world.