"We Must Rid Ourselves of These Linguistic Shackles"

So went one of the most memorable lines in cinematic history, in the humble opinion of yours truly. This excellent piece of dialogue was written by screenwriter Richard Wesley for the 1973 hit comedy Uptown Saturday Night. It is as timely now as it was then - the actor who delivered it was chiding his wife for using street slang. I'm sure that every screenwriter dreams of having the perfect performer deliver the lines they labored over. In this case the dream came true, for the actor who spoke this dialogue was the magnificent Roscoe Lee Browne.

Mr. Browne's death from cancer at the age of 81 was announced today. One of his last appearances was on the television show Law & Order, in which he played a presumably retired defense attorney who took a case for a colleague. The arraignment judge, who was still working and looked 90, greeted him by saying, "I'm happy to see you're still alive!"

I'm sad to hear of the passing of this gifted Shakespearean actor. May he rest in peace.

And may black people everywhere finally rid ourselves of our linguistic shackles.