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Hundreds pay respects to actress Cicely Tyson at her viewing

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VIDEO | 00:33
Hundreds pay respects to actress Cicely Tyson

People traveled across the country and stood in a block-long line to pay respects to Cicely Tyson at a public viewing Monday.

People traveled across the country and stood in a block-long line to pay respects to Cicely Tyson at a public viewing Monday.

As it began on a wintry Monday morning, hundreds of admirers of the pioneering Black actress lined up outside Harlem’s famed Abyssinian Baptist Church. Some said they had come from as far as Atlanta or Los Angeles to be there.

Many in the multigenerational crowd held photos of Tyson, who died Jan. 28. The New York-born actor was 96.

Tyson spent more than 60 years using her platform not only to garner awards but to challenge stereotypes about what it means to be a Black woman in America.

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Her family said masks and social distancing would be required at the viewing.

Tyson was the first Black woman to have a recurring role in a dramatic television series, the 1963 drama “East Side, West Side.”

Her performance as a sharecropper’s wife in the 1972 movie “Sounder” cemented her stardom and earned her an Oscar nomination.

She went on to win two Emmy Awards for playing the 110-year-old former slave in the 1974 television drama “The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman” and another Emmy 20 years later for “Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All.”

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At age 88, Tyson won a Tony Award for the revival of Horton Foote’s “The Trip to Bountiful” in 2013.

President Obama awarded her the Medal of Freedom in 2016.


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