This Day in Black History: Sept. 17, 1983

Vanessa Williams became the first Black woman to be crowned Miss America.

Posted: 09/14/2014 12:00 AM EDT

At age 20, Vanessa Williams became the first Black woman to be crowned Miss America when she won the title on Sept. 17, 1983.

Although Williams lost her historic title one year later, after nude photos of her surfaced, she went on to have a successful acting and singing career, earning Grammy and Emmy nods and singing hits such as “Save the Best for Last” and “Colors of the Wind.” She has also starred in several films, including Soul Food, the 2000 remake of Shaft and Johnson Family Vacation.

Williams was born on March 18, 1963 in Bronx, New York.


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(Photo: Courtesy Everett Collection)

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