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Emmys 2015: Viola Davis makes history as first black woman to win best actress in a drama series

“You cannot win an Emmy for roles that are simply not there.”

Viola Davis accepting her Emma for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama. Photo Phil McCarten : AP

Viola Davis accepting her Emma for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama. Photo Phil McCarten : AP

Viola Davis has made history during Sunday’s 67th annual Emmy Awards, becoming the first black actress to win the Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama for her role as Annalise Keating on ABC’s How to Get Away with Murder.

“In my mind, I see a line. And over that line I see green fields and lovely flowers and beautiful white women with their arms stretched out to me over that line, but I can’t seem to get there no-how. I can’t seem to get over that line,” Davis said, quoting Harriet Tubman in her acceptance speech. “Let me tell you something: the only thing that separates women of color from anyone else is opportunity. You cannot win an Emmy for roles that are simply not there.”

An emotional Davis went on to thank many other actresses of color, including fellow nominee Taraji P. Henson, Scandal star Kerry Washington, and Halle Berry. “Thank you for taking us over that line,” she said.


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