Viola Davis Makes History As First African-American Woman To Win Outstanding Lead Actress In Drama Emmy

viola davis how to get away with murder emmy speech

At the 67th Primetime Emmy Awards, Viola Davis made history. The How To Get Away With Murder actress became the first African-American woman to take home an Emmy for Best Leading Actress in a Drama series.

She started her speech by quoting Harriet Tubman, before going on to say “The only thing that separates women of color from anyone else is opportunity” and “You cannot win Emmys for roles that are 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.

Read her full speech here:

“‘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.’ That was Harriet Tubman in the 1800s. And let me tell you something. The only thing that separates women of color from anyone else is opportunity. You cannot win Emmys for roles that are not there.

“So here’s to all the writers, the awesome people… Shonda Rhimes. People who have redefined what it means to be beautiful, to be sexy, to be a leading woman. To be black. And to the Taraji P. Hensons, the Kerry Washingtons, the Halle Berrys, the Nicole Beharis, the Meagan Goods, to Gabrielle Union. Thank you for taking us over that line. Thank you, for the television academy.”

Although Taraji P. Henson was also nominated in the category for her role as Cookie on Empire, but she could not have been happier for Davis, standing and cheering throughout her acceptance speech.

This is Davis’ first Emmy win, and so deserved!

Watching Viola's inspirational #Emmys speech on a loop forever pic.twitter.com/hxQGzyOTJM

— Jarett Wieselman (@JarettSays) September 21, 2015

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