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Sat, 09.17.1983

The First Black Miss America is Crowned

Vanessa Williams

*On this date in 1983, Vanessa L. Williams became the 56th Miss America, and the first Black woman to be chosen.

In 1984 she was unfortunately forced to relinquish her crown after Penthouse magazine published nude photos of her taken years before.  Losing the title meant losing $2 million in product endorsements and the lead in a Broadway musical. Most people assumed her career was over, but Williams' talent won out. “I am not a lesbian and I am not a slut, and somehow I am going to make people believe me,” was Williams’ vow.

In little more than a decade after, Williams had a massive hit with "Save the Best for Last"; a gold album; a critically praised Broadway role in Kiss of the Spider Woman; and movies opposite Arnold Schwarzenegger (Eraser) and Laurence Fishburne (Hoodlum), and alongside Vivica Fox (Soul Food).  She continues with her career and family life.

New Poem Each Day

Poetry Corner

When you lie again in the street of forgetfulness smashed beyond recognition courting the dark avenue, when you wake to the alien walls that do not touch your... TO A WOMAN POET THAT I KNOW by Pinkie Gordon Lane.
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