Precious Lover And Beloved: A Celebration Of Love With Ruby Dee And Ossie Davis 75th Wedding Anniversary

December 12, 2023

In celebration of what would have been Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis’s 75th wedding anniversary, Leslie Odom, Jr. and Kara Young.

Including cast members of the Broadway revival of Ossie Davis’s award-winning play Purlie Victorious, will read from the archival collection of letters between this couple. Their daughter, Hasna Muhammad, and CEO of National Black Theater, Sade Lythcott, will join in a conversation about the play and the art/activism of Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis following the reading.

Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee were actors, directors, writers, and activists whose careers spanned the mediums of theatre, television, radio, film, and print. Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee papers date from 1932 to 2015, and chronicle the couple’s artistic careers as performers and authors, as well as their work as civil rights activists. December 18th, 2023, is also the 106th birthday of Ossie Davis (1917-2005).

Monday, December 18, 2023, 6:30 PM EST, Schomburg Center, 515 Malcolm X Boulevard, New York, NY 10037


LESLIE ODOM, JR. is a multifaceted Tony and Grammy Award-winning, three-time Emmy and two-time Academy Award-nominated vocalist, songwriter, actor and New York Times bestselling author. With a career that spans performance genres, Odom Jr. was most recently honored with a star on the Walk of Fame in his hometown of Philadelphia by the Philadelphia Music Alliance. Purlie Victorious marks his long-awaited return to Broadway after winning a Tony Award for his performance as the original Aaron Burr in Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Pulitzer Prizewinning Hamilton. Film and television credits include his critically acclaimed performance as legendary soul singer Sam Cooke in Regina King’s One Night in Miami, Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery, The Many Saints of Newark, Blumhouse/Universal’s The Exorcist: Believer, Apple TV+’s “Central Park” and Abbott Elementary.” Solo albums include The Christmas Album (2020), Mr (2019), Simply Christmas (2015), Leslie Odom Jr. (2014) and When a Crooner Dies… (2023). “Thank you, Mr. Davis.”

KARA YOUNG Broadway: Cost of Living (Tony nomination)Clyde’s (Tony, Drama Desk nominations), Off-Broadway: Twelfth Night (Obie Award), All the Natalie Portmans (Lucille Lortel nomination), Halfway Bitches Go Straight to Heaven, The New Englanders, Revolving Cycles Truly and Steadily Roll’d, Syncing Ink and Pretty Hunger. Kara can currently be seen in Amazon’s “I’m a Virgo.” Other film/TV includes HBO Max’s “The Staircase,” HBO’s “Random Acts of Flyness” and Netflix’s “The Punisher.”

HASNA MUHAMMAD Ed.D is a photographer, writer, and educator whose work focuses on family, social justice, education, and the human condition. She exhibits her photography throughout the country, and she is the author of Breathe In the Sky: Poems Prayers & Photographs. Hasna recently published her first book, Breathe In the Sky: Poems Prayers & Photographs.

SADE LYTHCOTT The Harlem native is a TONY® and EMMY® award nominated producer and the Chief Executive Officer of the historic National Black Theatre (NBT), the nation’s first revenue-generating Black Arts complex and one of the longest-run theaters by a woman of color. As a leader and staunch advocate for women and people of color in the cultural sector, Sade currently serves as the chair of the Coalition of Theaters of Color and co-leads Culture @ 3, an unprecedented space that brings together more than 1000 of NYC’s nonprofit cultural leaders, funders, and electeds to navigate pressing fieldwide issues in an ever-shifting cultural landscape.Learn more about her work and NBT’s redevelopment project at

Pictured: Actors Leslie Odom, Jr. and Kara Young

Purlie Victorius

I find, in being black, a thing of beauty: a joy; a strength; a secret cup of gladness. – Purlie Judson (written by Ossie Davis, Purlie Victorious)

Tony Award® winner Leslie Odom, Jr. stars in Purlie Victorious: A Non-Confederate Romp Through the Cotton Patch, the rousing, laugh-filled comedy by Kennedy Center honoree Ossie Davis that tells the story of a Black preacher’s machinations to reclaim his inheritance and win back his church. Purlie Victorious originally premiered on Broadway in 1961 and starred Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee, Alan Alda, Godfrey Cambridge, Sorrell Booke, and Beah Richards. Learn more about Purlie Victorious here.

Image: Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Manuscripts, Archives and Rare Books Division, The New York Public Library. “Ossie Davis with Purlie Victorious cast” The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1961.

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