Pacific Stars And Stripes Newspaper Archives Sep 20 1983, Page 19

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Pacific Stars And Stripes (Newspaper) - September 20, 1983, Tokyo, JapanTuesday september 20, 1983 Pacific stars and stripes % 3 a Ufau q Black leaders Praise crowning compiled from wire services .,.,.,.,. ,., T.,.1 Atlantic City . Minority leaders applauded the crowning of the first Black miss America and one of them called the selection a sign that inherent racism in America must be diluting miss new York Vanessa Williams 20, of Millwood n.y., was crowned the 57th miss America at the culmination of the glittery 62-year-old pageant that excluded Blacks for its first three decades. Blame the pageant not Black women for taking 57 years to recognize that intelligence Talent and Beauty Are not exclusive properties of any racial or ethnic group said the Rev. Joseph Lowery president of the Southern Christian leadership con Ference. It is Good that another of Amer Ica s cultural institutions has ripped off the curtain that excluded Amer ican women who Are Young gifted and Black Lowery said from his Atlanta office. My first reaction is that the inherent racism in America must be diluting itself said Shirley Chisholm a former Black Congress woman from new York. Would say thank god i have lived Long enough that this nation has been Able to select the Beautiful Young woman of color to be miss America added Chisholm. For Benjamin l. Hooks executive director of the National association for the advancement of coloured people the selection prompted a comparison with Jackie Robinson breaking the color Barrier in professional baseball. It will also Wake up America to the tragedy of excluding Blacks from the competitive Arenas of life like Law Medicine physics. There have always Vanessa Williams with her father Milton Righter Mother Helen and brother Christopher. Been qualified Black people Hooks added. We Hope it will signal to America that they should open i m delighted said . Rep. Charles Rangel a Black Democrat from new York. It s exciting at a time when we do find separation of the races that her color was not Factor and her Talent won president Reagan telephoned his congratulations to Williams sunday calling her achievement a wonder Ful thing for our look for it at most Pacific stars and stripes bookstores and army and air Force Exchange outlets. Reagan who has sought to improve a poor political standing among Blacks said he looked Forward to seeing Williams at the White House. Chisholm said that because it does t put bread on the table people May say so what when considering the importance to the civil rights movement of a Black woman winning the Crown. But the former congresswoman now teaching at mount Holyoke College said the event is not trivia pageant from Page 1 prepared them. I think the whole Issue is Opportunity and they had in addition to the $25,000, Williams has a Chance to earn More than $100,000 during her year Long reign. Many winners also have parlayed their titles into lucrative show Busi Ness and professional careers. The others among the top five finalists were miss Alabama Pam Battles winning a $10,000 scholar ship miss Mississippi Wanda Gayle Eddie with a $7,000 scholarship and miss Ohio Pamela Helean Rigas winning a $5,000 scholarship. Completing the top 10 were miss Missouri Barbara Webster miss Florida Kimberly Anne Boyce miss Texas Dana Rogers miss Nebraska Kristin Leigh Lowenburg and miss Kentucky Lynn Whitney Thompson. In addition to a record convention Hall crowd of 22,600, a television audience estimated at More than 53million people also watched the Crow Ning which climaxed a two hour extravaganza broadcast live by Abc to. Williams who was also the first Lack woman to take the new York state pageant title plans to become a Roadway stage performer. The miss America title could be a major boost to her ambitions. The athletic Williams who list photography sewing Reading travel ing and hiking As hobbies wowed the judges by belting out Happy Days Are Here again in her Talent performance. Only a dozen Black women have Ever participated in the pageant which was restricted to Whites until the late 1950s, and none had finished shows in a sense that the country for whatever the motivation might be seems to be trying desperately to move toward a More Equality Rian set of Lowery said the reign of the new miss America will symbolize the pluralism that characterizes Amer ican and he added it is exciting that in one 30-Day period America has an astronaut and a Beauty Queen in living higher than Lencola Sullivan of Arkansas who placed fifth in 1980. Before Cheryl Brown of Iowa be came the pageant s first Black Contes Tant in 1970, Blacks had appeared onstage in the event Only once in 1922, playing slaves to his oceanic majesty the Host in the Early Days. Williams downplayed the race Issue during the week. You think i m making history she asked reporters after winning her Talent Competition. I Don t think about it too much. I just think Williams was the third pageant Winner from new York. Tawny god Inwon the 1976 title and Bess Myerson became the first and Only jewish miss America in 1945. Choosing America s sweetheart were pop poet Rod Mckuen the Only judge to return from last year and seven new faces including Marian Mcknight Conway a Public relations spokeswoman who was miss America 1957, photographer Chris Little sin Ger Jerry Vale opera Star Maguerite Piazza Talent agent Tandy Rice dancer Jeanne Meixell and Advertis ing agent Lois Ernst. Television talk show Host Gary Collins husband of 1959 miss Amer Ica Mary Ann Mobley was this year s master of ceremonies. Collins last year replaced actor Ron Ely who served for two years after longtime Host Bert Parks was fired. The pageant s Centrepiece song was new this year. Pageant officials said the author of the song there she is traditionally Sung As the newly crowned Queen walks the 134 foot runway demanded too much Money for the rights to its use and it was replaced with look at her

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