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Legendary actress Cicely Tyson to be honored during DuSable Museum’s Gala

Legendary Emmy and Tony Award-winning actress Cicely Tyson will join two individuals, who have made outstanding contributions to society through career and civic engagement, when she is honored during the DuSable Museum of African American History’s annual fundraising Gala. The event celebrating education, culture and art will take place on Friday, October 12, 2018 at the Marriott Marquis Chicago, 2121 South Prairie Avenue in Chicago.


Tyson, who will be presented with the “Star of Stars-Living Legend Award,” began her career acting in Off-Broadway productions in 1957. She had small roles in feature films before she was cast as Portia in “The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter” (1968). Four years later, Tyson was nominated for an Academy Award as “Best Actress” for her performance in the critically acclaimed film “Sounder” (1972). In 1974, she went on to portray a 110-year-old former slave in “The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman,” which earned her two Emmy Awards, making her the first African American actress to win an Emmy for “Outstanding Lead Actress in a Television Movie.” She also appeared in the television miniseries “Roots” (1977), “King” (1978) and “A Woman Called Moses” (1978).

Tyson has also appeared in such critically acclaimed projects as: “A Hero Ain’t Nothing But A Sandwich,” “The Women of Brewster Place,” “Fried Green Tomatoes,” “The Help,” “The Marva Collins Story, and “How To Get Away With Murder.”

In 2013, Tyson returned to Broadway, winning a Tony Award for “Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play” for The Trip to Bountiful. She became the oldest person to ever win an acting Tony. On November 23, 2016, she was awarded the prestigious Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama for her contribution to the arts and American culture. Tyson has not appeared steadily on screen because of her determination to portray only strong, positive images of Black women. She once said, “The choices of roles I made had to do with educating and entertaining. And as a result, I found myself working only every two or three years.”

The Cicely L. Tyson Community School of Performing & Fine Arts in East Orange, New Jersey was named in her honor. She visits the school frequently and occasionally teaches a Master Class in acting.

Additional 2018 honorees include: social activist and artist Vic Mensa; and recent Kenwood High School graduate Ciara J. Evans.

VicMensa 2 web
Vic Mensa

Tickets to the DuSable Museum 2018 fundraising gala include cocktails, dinner, the awards presentation, entertainment and dancing. Tickets are $500 per person ($5,000 for a table of 10). Visit or call 773-947-0600. For sponsorship information contact Hanah Jubeh at 312- 854-8018.

About The DuSable Museum of African American History

The DuSable Museum of African American History is the oldest independent Black history museum in the nation. Its mission is to promote understanding and inspire appreciation of the achievements, contributions and experiences of African Americans through exhibits, programs and activities that illustrate African and African American history, culture and art. The DuSable Museum is a Smithsonian Institution Affiliate.

For more information on the Museum and its programs, call 773-947-0600 or visit

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