Today, legendary Oscar Award-Winning actress Cicely Tyson has unfortunately passed away. However, the renowned entertainer has left a legacy at HBCUs and beyond that will last forever. Over her lifetime her accomplishments have led her to receive honorary degrees from HBCUs like Howard University, Morehouse College, and other PWIs. She was also inducted as an honorary member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. as well.

President Barack Obama (left) and Cicely Tyson (right) at Howard University’s commencement ceremony, courtesy of Getty Images

According to NBC, Tyson was first discovered as a model for Ebony Magazine. After that, the legendary entertainer became a film, television, and stage actress. Even more recently, she became a writer. 

Tyson and President Barack Obama were both given honorary degrees from Howard University in 2016. Tyson was born December 19, 1924, and came from humble beginnings to sharing a stage with the first Black president of the United States.

“I am one of three children, grew up in the area that is now known as El Barrio and that was the East Side (of New York),” she told TV host Steve Harvey according to CNN. “To come from there to the White House with the first black President … to put that medal around my neck: Where can you go from there?”

The entertainment industry has been rightfully humbled by Tysons forty-plus year career. In 1973 she was nominated for an Oscar for her role in the film “Sounder.” Tyson also earned an honorary Oscar in 2018 for her decades of work. At the time, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences noted that her “unforgettable performances and personal integrity” left an indelible mark on the industry. Tyson had also been bestowed with Kennedy Center Honors in 2015 for a lifetime achievement award. 

Most recently, Tyson released her first memoir, “Just As I Am,” in collaboration with Michelle Burford. The book covered what it could of her expansive life, from her childhood to her legendary roles in “The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman” and “Roots.” Tyson was also married to legendary musical Miles Davis, but divorced him in 1988. 

In a recent interview with Gayle King for CBS This Morning, the 96-year-old was asked, “when the time comes, what do you want us to remember about you?”

“I’ve done my best. That’s all,” said Tyson.

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