This Day in Black History: June 6, 2004

Phylicia Rashad is the first African-American woman to win a Tony award for best dramatic leading role.

Posted: 06/06/2014 12:00 AM EDT
Phylicia Rashad

On June 6, 2004, Phylicia Rashad, who is well known for her role as Clair Huxtable on The Cosby Show, won a Tony award for best actress in a play becoming the first African-American woman to win best actress at the award ceremony.

“Often I’ve wondered what does it take for this to happen. And now I know. It takes effort and grace, tremendous self-effort and amazing grace,” Rashad told Associated Press.

Rashad played the role of Lena Younger, the strong-willed matriarch in a poignant performance in A Raisin in the Sun.

More than 40 years prior, Claudia McNeil, the woman who first played the role of Lena Younger, became the first Black woman to be nominated for a Tony award as best female in a dramatic leading role.

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(Photo: Brad Barket/Getty Images)

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