September 2019

This Day in History: Vanessa Williams Becomes First Black Miss America

September 17, 1983. At the time of Williams' historic title, the Miss America pageant had a 63-year history. Black women weren't allowed to compete at all for the first 30 of those years. Williams' title was marked by scandal a year later when nude photos of the model emerged. The 21-year-old gave up her crown. Despite the controversy, Williams launched a successful music career. Her 1994 album 'The Sweetest Days' went platinum. She also sang the Oscar winning track, "The Color of the Wind," featured in the Disney hit, 'Pocahontas.'. Williams also has led a successful acting career, with roles in film, television and on Broadway. She was nominated for a Tony for her role in a revival of 'Into the Woods.'