Browse our collection of African-American Firsts: Awards & Honors, including Oprah Winfrey, who became the first recipient of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences' Bob Hope Humanitarian Award in 2002; Floyd Patterson; the youngest heavyweight champion in history and the first heavyweight to regain his title following a loss; Shani Davis, who became the first black athlete at the Winter Olympics to win a gold medal in an individual sport in 2006; and Henry Armstrong, who became the first boxer to hold three different weight division titles at the same time in 1938. Explore full biographies, photo galleries, videos and more, only at Biography.com.
Filmmaker Ava DuVernay directed the Oscar-nominated film ‘Selma’ (2014), which chronicles Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s leadership in the struggle for voting rights. She is the first African-American female director to receive a Golden Globe nomination and have a film nominated for a Best Picture Oscar. She received another Oscar nomination for her documentary '13th' (2016).