Today in History: Vanessa Williams crowned first black Miss America

On This Day - 17th September
On This Day - 17th September


Thirty-two years ago today on September 17, 1983, Vanessa Williams became the first black woman to be crowned Miss America, winning the esteemed title at just 20-years-old.

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Williams made history by becoming the first black woman crowned in the pageant's 63-years. In fact, during Miss America's first 30 years of competition, black women were not even allowed to compete.

Miss America Pageant - Season 1
Miss America Pageant - Season 1


Unfortunately, this historical win didn't come without controversy. Ten months after Williams was crowned, Penthouse magazine published nude photos of Williams that were taken in the past. Williams felt pressured by Miss America Pageant officials to resign, and did so in a press conference in 1984.

Vanessa Williams
Vanessa Williams


However, Williams didn't let this controversy slow down her career. She went on to star in feature films like "Eraser" and "Soulfood," along with the award-winning TV series "Ugly Betty." Vanessa Williams certainly is a fabulous woman, and we honor her on this day.

Take a look to see Vanessa Williams through the years:

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