Manage episode 328465561 series 2885711
BlackFacts.com presents the black fact of the day for May 15.
Camilla Williams became the first black woman to act in a leading role in a major American opera company.
She trained at Virginia State College, now Virginia State University, and received her bachelor's degree in music education. Beginning in 1944, Williams performed on the coast-to-coast RCA radio network.
A noted concert artist, Williams toured throughout the United States, Latin America, fourteen African countries, as well as numerous countries in Asia.
A lifetime member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), she performed in her hometown of Danville, Virginia in 1963, to raise funds to free jailed civil rights demonstrators.
She also sang the national anthem before 200,000 people at the 1963 civil rights march on Washington, immediately before Martin Luther King gave his famous "I Have a Dream" speech.
Williams retired from opera in 1970 and began teaching voice at Bronx College, Brooklyn College, and Queens College, all in New York City.
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