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.
See her amazing speech below: