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Cicely Tyson is an award-winning film, television and stage actress. She is known for choosing quality roles that send positive messages to women of color.
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She co-founded the Dance Theater of Harlem after Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination, and when a school board in East Orange, New Jersey, wanted to name a complex of performing arts schools after her, she only agreed to accept the honor if she could participate in school activities. In addition to attending meetings and events, Tyson has even taught a master class at the school.
Tyson has received numerous acting awards and nominations, and became a member of the Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame in 1977. She has also been honored by the Congress of Racial Equality and by the National Council of Negro Women. And in 2010, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People presented Tyson with its 95th Springarn Medal—an award given to African Americans who have reached outstanding levels of achievement.
Perhaps the biggest honor for Tyson is that, in part because she took a stand about the calibre of roles that she would accept, she and other actresses of color now have greater access to better parts. This means that Tyson can continue on the path she outlined in 1994: "Now I am perfectly willing to just enjoy my career by choosing roles simply because I consider them to be a challenge, and doing the best possible job I can."
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