Viola Davis took home the Emmy for lead actress in a drama series for her performance in How to Get Away With Murder at Sunday night’s ceremony, making her the first black actress to win the award. The honor marks Davis’ first Emmy nomination and win.
Davis began her speech quoting words once spoken by 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. I can’t seem to get over that line,” she said.
“The only thing that separates women of color from anything else is opportunity,” added Davis. “You cannot win an Emmy for roles for things that are simply not there.”
Davis ended her speech by dedicating her award to other A-list black actresses including Kerry Washington, Halle Berry, Meagan Good and Gabrielle Union.
“Thank you for taking us over that line,” said Davis.
Famous women including Oprah Winfrey, Shonda Rhimes and Octavia Spencer celebrated Davis’ historic win on social media. See the posts below.
— Oprah Winfrey (@Oprah) September 21, 2015
VIOLA omg HISTORY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! so excited for you baby!!!!
— octavia spencer (@octaviaspencer) September 21, 2015
I love listening to her speak. #ViolaDavis
— shonda rhimes (@shondarhimes) September 21, 2015
— kerry washington (@kerrywashington) September 21, 2015
OMG!!! I’m floored… and proud and crying… VIOLA VIOLA VIOLA!!! Thank you for letting us share your shine!!! Man… tears
— Gabrielle Union (@itsgabrielleu) September 21, 2015
@violadavis CONGRATULATIONS!!!! Beautiful work, beautiful speech!!!!
— Julianne Moore (@_juliannemoore) September 21, 2015
Davis beat out Claire Danes (Homeland), Taraji P. Henson (Empire), Tatiana Maslany (Orphan Black), Elisabeth Moss (Mad Men) and Robin Wright (House of Cards) to win the award.
The 67th annual Primetime Emmy Awards, hosted by Andy Samberg, took place at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles on Sunday.