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Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee Endowment and UNCF Announce the 2018-19 Ossie Davis Legacy Scholarship

The family of the late actors and activists Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee are proud to announce the availability of the 2018/2019 Ossie Davis Legacy Award Scholarship. The scholarship has been administered by the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) since its inception in 2007. This year’s recipient will be named the Centennial Scholar in honor of Mr. Davis’ 100th birthday. The $10,000 merit-based scholarship will be awarded to a deserving African American student currently enrolled at a select UNCF-member institution, studying African American Studies, Communications, Education, Fine Arts, Humanities, Performing Arts, Political Sciences, Theater Arts, Drama or Visual Arts. The application is now available online at and

Ossie Davis was a well-read thinker, communicator, humorist and humanist who influenced society and cared deeply about the world, the people, and his family. His pivotal contributions to the civil rights movement and his focus on the transformation of lives was unwavering and should never be forgotten. Whether on a Broadway stage, the silver screen or lending his voice to political rallies, Davis was a feverish humanitarian who was committed to effect change. He wholeheartedly believed that “A mind is a terrible thing to waste.”® The heart of the Ossie Davis Legacy Award is to ease financial barriers for that African American student who is on his or her path to higher learning.

“Now more than ever, it is imperative that young people of color arm themselves with the necessary tools to confront and combat many of the same social injustices and biases faced by our parents. And we are humbled by the generous contributions to the Ossie Davis Endowment that makes this scholarship possible,” says a statement issued by the Dee-Davis children (Nora Davis Day, Guy Davis, Dr. Hasna Muhammad).

“We are honored to carry forward the legacy of two pioneering entertainers and activists who made their marks not only through their work on screen, on stage and in music, but through the lasting imprint of the civil rights movement,” said UNCF CEO and President Dr. Michael L. Lomax. “This named UNCF scholarship carries on the work Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee charged ahead with throughout their lives.”

Notably, there are two past recipients of award that the Dee-Davis family and UNCF are extremely proud of—Ms. Deidra Shores and Ms. Karechia Wallace-Warthon. Deidra graduated from Clark Atlanta University, majoring in Mass Media Arts and minoring in Theater with a concentration in Radio, Television and Broadcast Journalism; and Karechia, one of the top 10 graduates of Spelman College (2018), is currently a teacher with Teach for America and will pursue her juris-doctorate degree at Georgetown Law in the fall of 2019.

Ossie Davis Legacy Scholarship Criteria: 
The award is designed to provide scholarships to African American incoming freshman, college sophomores, juniors, seniors or graduate students attending the following historically black colleges and universities (HBCU) beginning Fall 2018: 

  • Benedict College
  • Bethune Cookman University
  • Claflin University
  • Clark Atlanta University
  • Florida Memorial University
  • Howard University
  • Lane College
  • Miles College
  • Morehouse College
  • Spelman College
  • Virginia Union University
  • Xavier University of Louisiana

The application deadline for the scholarship consideration is November 9, 2018. Visit for more requirements and details.

Visit to learn more about the extraordinary life of Ossie Davis.

About UNCF 
UNCF (United Negro College Fund) is the nation’s largest and most effective minority education organization. To serve youth, the community and the nation, UNCF supports students’ education and development through scholarships and other programs, strengthens its 37 member colleges and universities, and advocates for the importance of minority education and college readiness. UNCF institutions and other historically black colleges and universities are highly effective, awarding nearly 20 percent of African American baccalaureate degrees. UNCF administers more than $100 million via almost 400 programs annually, including scholarship, internship and fellowship, mentoring, summer enrichment, and curriculum and faculty development programs. Its logo features the UNCF torch of leadership in education and its widely recognized motto, “A mind is a terrible thing to waste, but a wonderful thing to invest in.”® Today, UNCF supports more than 60,000 students at more than 1,100 colleges and universities. Learn more at or for continuous news and updates, follow UNCF on Twitter @UNCF.


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