Cicely Tyson is an actress, lecturer, activist, and one of the most respected talents in American theater and film history. From her starring role on Broadway in The Blacks (1961) to the Emmy-nominated 1999 HBO film A Lesson Before Dying, her work has garnered critical and commercial applause for more than sixty years.
A capstone achievement came in 2018, when she became the first Black woman to receive an honorary Oscar. The Board of Governors voted unanimously to honor her with the award, which came 45 years after her Academy Award–nominated performance in Sounder. In November 1996, The New Jersey Board of Education unanimously voted to change the name of a public middle and high school to the Cicely L. Tyson Community School of Performing and Fine Arts.