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Viola Davis makes history at the Emmys

Tracy Morgan makes triumphant return

Shonda McClain | 9/21/2015, 1:25 p.m.
Standing on the shoulders of Harriet Tubman, Viola Davis accepted her Emmy Award for lead actress in a drama series ...
Viola Davis

Standing on the shoulders of Harriet Tubman, Viola Davis accepted her Emmy Award for lead actress in a drama series for her role as a complicated defense lawyer Annalise Keating on the hit ABC show, “How to Get Away with Murder.” She is the first Black woman in Emmy history to win the coveted statuette.

During her moving acceptance speech, Davis quoted Tubman and paid tribute to other Black actresses, including Taraji P. Henson, who was also nominated in the lead actress category, Halle Berry, Gabrielle Union, Meagan Good, Nicole Behari and Kerry Washington.

“Let me tell you something,” she said. “The only thing that separates women of color from anyone else is opportunity. You cannot win an Emmy for roles that are simply not there.”

Regina King also took home an Emmy for Outstanding Actress in a Limited Series for her role in “American Crime. "That Taraji and Terrence presented me with this is pretty special," said King, who also acknowledged her son, Ian, who came as her date.

“Orange is the New Black’s” Uzo Aduba could not hold back the tears when she accepted her award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama. This is Aduba’s second consecutive Emmy win. Last year she won for the same role, but a different category: Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series. "I really just want to say thank you a thousand times," said Aduba.

The memorable night also marked the return of comedian Tracy Morgan who presented the best drama award to “Game of Thrones.” It was the first time Morgan had taken the stage since his tragic car accident nearly a year ago, which left him in a coma. "When I finally regained consciousness, I was just ecstatic to learn I wasn't the one who messed up,” he joked.

Follow me on Twitter @ShondaMcClain.