Press Release for Monday, February 11, 2002

Ossie Davis to be luncheon speaker


JACKSONVILLE – Noted actor, director, author and producer Ossie Davis will be the featured speaker at this year’s Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarship Luncheon at the University of North Florida on Friday, Feb. 22.

The luncheon, which will begin at 11:30, will be at the UNF University Center. Tickets are $15 for students and $33 for non-students and are available at the UNF Ticket Box Office or can be ordered by calling 620-2878.

In addition to his roles as director and producer, Davis prefers to be known foremost as a writer. He is author of the Tony Award winning play, Purlie Victorious and also has completed work on his first novel about young people in the civil rights movement called Just Like Martin, published by Simon and Schuster. Davis has a long list of movie credits to his name including The Client, Grumpy Old Men, The Cardinal, The Hill and Gone Are The Days. In addition, Davis has directed such films as Cotton Comes to Harlem and Gordon’s War.

Davis is the recipient of many awards. In 1989 he was inducted into the NAACP Image Hall of Fame and later to the Theater Hall of Fame in New York. In 1994, Davis and his wife, Ruby Dee, were given the Silver Circle Award by the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. In 1995, David and Dee were recipients of the prestigious National Medal of Arts Award bestowed at the White House by President Clinton.

In 1999, Davis and Dee published the book In This Life Together, based on more than 50 years of marriage. Davis will be available to sign that book following his luncheon speech at the University Center.

In addition to his luncheon speech, Davis will be appearing at a reception honoring him at the Ritz Theatre and LaVilla Museum in Jacksonville from 6 to 9 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 21. A contribution of $50 is requested.

Three other events at UNF are being sponsored in conjunction with the scholarship luncheon. A Citizens’ Forum for Racial and Cultural Harmony will be conducted on Feb. 22 from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. in the Mathews Computer Science Building (Bldg 15), Room 1304. The session is free of charge but participants must call the National Conference for Community and Justice at 306-6225 to register.

The forum is intended to bring together representatives of diverse elements in the community to discuss different perspectives on issues. It is intended to be followed by a series of town meetings scheduled over the next several months and will end with a final report containing recommendation for the city of Jacksonville.

On Feb. 22 and 23 there also will be a program titled "The Harlem Renaissance: 21st Century Perspectives," that will be from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Robinson Student Life Center Banquet Complex.


The two-day program includes attendance at the Davis luncheon. For more information or to register for the conference call 620-2475.

The concluding event will be a gala scholarship concert on Feb. 23 beginning at 8 p.m. in the recital hall of the UNF Fine Arts Center. The concert will include performances by Dr. Gary Smart, chair of the UNF Music Department, and UNF music faculty members Lenard Bowie and Bill Brown. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students and senior citizens and can be purchased at the UNF Ticket Box Office or by calling 620-2878.

All of the events are the result of a joint sponsorship by the following organizations: Center for Multicultural Affairs,; Student Affairs; Academic Affairs; Institutional Advancement; the UNF Black History Committee; the Jacksonville Region of the National Conference for Community and Justice; and the Ritz Theatre and LaVilla Museum.

MEDIA INTERVIEWS: Ossie Davis will be available for media interviews during a brief time on Friday, Feb. 22 at the University Center. Media representatives interested in the interviews should call the Office of News and Publications at 620-2140.

PHOTO: & photo of Ossie Davis is available electronically by calling the Office of News&Publications.