Scholar and activist Angela Davis hosts The HistoryMakers Year in Review—2002 beginning with a description of her activist roots in Birmingham, Alabama and a contextual analysis of today’s activism as well as public acknowledgement of the role that The HistoryMakers played in securing her papers at Harvard’s Schlesinger Library. It was in 2002 that Davis would travel to Chicago to interview the legendary artist/activist couple Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee in An Evening With Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee before an audience of 1,000 attendees. 2002 would find The HistoryMakers hosting its 2nd Salute to HistoryMakers program with Terisa Griffin performing and Darryl Denard hosting and HistoryMakers in attendance from around the country. With the help of a $240,000 grant from the Knight Foundation, 234 HistoryMakers, representing almost a threefold increase in interviews from previous years, were added to The HistoryMakers archives from northern California, Florida, Georgia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, North and South Dakota. WVON: The Good Ole Days of 60s Radio showcasing the history of America’s first 24 hour black radio station is followed by the first Meet the HistoryMakers—A Day of Education which brought together students and educators with participating HistoryMakers. In addition to behind-the-scenes footage from the Day of Education and An Evening With Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee, this evening program includes a musical performance made possible from the Berklee College of Music by Grammy award winning Terri Lyne Carrington + the group Social Sciences. This performance is in tribute to Angela Davis, Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee and those HistoryMakers 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.
Multi-GRAMMY® award-winning drummer, producer, activist, and educator, Terri Lyne Carrington, boldly confronts a wide spectrum of social justice issues over the course of Social Science’s double LP, Waiting Game. Social Science is built around the friendship and collaboration of Carrington, pianist/keyboardist Aaron Parks (Terence Blanchard, Kurt Rosenwinkel) and guitarist Matthew Stevens (Christian Scott, Esperanza Spalding), along with multi-instrumentalist Morgan Guerin, vocalist Debo Ray, and MC/DJ Kassa Overall.
A host of social and political issues are confronted by Social Science on Waiting Game, from mass incarceration (“Trapped in the American Dream”), police brutality (“Bells (Ring Loudly)”), homophobia (“Pray the Gay Away”), the genocide of Native Americans (“Purple Mountains”), political prisoners (“No Justice”), and gender equity (“If Not Now” and “The Anthem”). Galvanized by seismic changes in the social and political landscape, Terri Lyne founded the Berklee Institute of Jazz and Gender Justice and simultaneously formed this band, while also being inspired in particular by the work that Black Youth Project 100 is doing, a youth organization founded in the wake of George Zimmerman’s acquittal for the killing of Trayvon Martin.
“In previous projects I’ve hinted at my concerns for the society and the community that I live in,” Carrington says. “But everything has been pointing in this direction. At some point you have to figure out your purpose in life. There are a lot of drummers deemed ‘great.’ For me, that’s not as important as the legacy one leaves behind.”
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.
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.