A beacon of elegance and grace, Ruby Dee was a creative trailblazer, using her love of the arts and uplifting others to create an extraordinary legacy.

Born in Cleveland, Ohio, on October 27, 1922, Dee became a standout figure in the civil rights movement and successful film and stage actress. She earned eight Emmy nominations, winning one, and even snagged a late-career Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination for her role in the 2007 film “American Gangster.” Dee died on Wednesday, at her New Rochelle, New York, home. But her creative and social contributions live on. 

Along the journey of her life, Dee offered powerful words that encouraged and empowered those she touched. And in celebration of her life, we’ve gathered 12 of Ruby Dee’s most inspiring quotes.

“The kind of beauty I want most is the hard-to-get kind that comes from within - strength, courage, dignity.”

“The greatest gift is not being afraid to question.”

“That's what being young is all about. You have the courage and the daring to think that you can make a difference. You're not prone to measure your energies in time. You're not likely to live by equations.”

“Classism and greed are making insignificant all the other kinds of isms.”

“The greatest gift is not being afraid to question.”

“You just try to do everything that comes up. Get up an hour earlier, stay up an hour later, make the time. Then you look back and say, ‘Well, that was a neat piece of juggling there -- school, marriage, babies, career.’ The enthusiasms took me through the action, not the measuring of it or the reasonableness.”

“It takes a long time to really be married. One marries many times at many levels within that marriage. If you have more marriages than you have divorces within the marriage, you’re lucky and you stick it out.”

“Paradise is to be the ultimate instrument, fulfilling God's desperate intent that we love each other.”

"There is so much to do, ... Ossie left a lot of work that we are still trying to finish."

"God, make me so uncomfortable that I will do the very thing I fear."

"Don't do me any favors."

"There was so much meanness in the atmosphere, ... but marvelous things pierce through the darkness of poverty and racism. You meet all kinds of people that help put life in perspective and turn the horror into some kind of lesson or avenue of awakening that lives with you all your days."