Viola Davis accepts the award for outstanding lead actress in a drama series for How to Get Away With Murder at the 67th Primetime Emmy Awards on Sept. 20, 2015 in Los Angeles.
Phil McCarten—Invision/Television Academy/AP
By Eliana Dockterman
September 21, 2015

Viola Davis made history at the Emmys on Sunday night when she became the first African-American woman to win an Emmy for best actress in a drama series. In a moving speech, the How to Get Away With Murder actress began by quoting Harriet Tubman:

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 went on to thank the show’s executive producer Shonda Rhimes for diversifying television as well as other actresses breaking boundaries on TV, including her fellow nominee Taraji P. Henson.

“The only thing that separates women of color from anyone else is opportunity,” she concluded. “You cannot win an Emmy for roles that are simply not there.”


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