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Cicely Tyson breaks down the television barrier | Black History Moment of the Day

<p>Cicely Tyson becomes the first person of color in an non-stereotypical starring role.</p>

Chad White

Published: 2/10/2017 4:22:42 PM
Updated: 4:22 PM EST February 10, 2017

Black History encapsulates more than a month. This new daily series will take a look at some lesser known events and people in the world.

Black people have made strides in media since its inception - but none more so than television. The entire race used to be relegated to lame supporting character status like stereotypical roles (see Ethel Waters in the 1930’s sitcom Beulah for reference). It was Cicely Tyson who really changed the game.

The film and television actress was featured as the star in the 1963 CBS drama East Side/West Side where she took on the role of Jane Foster, secretary to a New York social worker. Most episodes dealt with issues pertaining to the inner city -- such as prostitution and post-traumatic stress disorder -- which played nicely with the New York aesthetic. The show sounds tame by today’s standards but it tackled hot topics back then. Sadly, the show was canceled after the first season.