Miss USA, Miss America and Miss Teen USA winners are all black women for the first time in pageant history
2019 Miss America Nia Franklin and recently crowned 2019 Miss Teen USA Kaliegh Garris had started scripting history this year and they were later joined by Miss USA Cheslie Kryst last Thursday as she completed the first trio of color to win the major pageant titles.
North Carolina lawyer, Cheslie Kryst's winning the Miss USA crown has been historic because for the first time all the reigning women of Miss USA, Miss Teen USA and Miss America pageants are African-American.
Twenty-eight-years-old Kryst completed the historic trio on Thursday with pageant winners 2019 Miss America Nia Franklin and recently crowned 2019 Miss Teen USA Kaliegh Garris.
The three young women who have focused their energy on demonstrating how standards of black beauty speak for American standards of beauty are to be commended," Thomas DeFrantz, a professor in the Department of African and African American Studies at Duke University told Associated Press. "These three standard-bearers prove that black beauty is at the heart of a 21st-century American ideal," he added.
Franklin, who hails from New York, won her title in September in Atlantic City, New Jersey, becoming the first woman also to win the Miss America crown without having to wear a swimsuit. Aspiring trauma nurse, Garris, from New Haven, Connecticut, won her crown in April.
Kryst, a former Division I athlete and attorney at Poyner Spruill LLP in Charlotte, North Carolina, won her crown in Reno, Nevada on May 2. She holds an MBA from Wake Forest University and her acceptance speech has been widely hailed.
"Mine is the first generation to have that forward-looking mindset that has inclusivity, diversity, strength and empowered women. I'm looking forward to continued progress in my generation," said Kryst. She now advances to the Miss Universe competition.
The Miss America pageant, which started in 1921 barred women of color from participating until the 1940s by a rule that said contestants must be of "the white race." So for many reasons, the crowning of three black women in three major beauty pageants is historic.
More than a dozen black women have been named either Miss America or Miss USA, including actress Vanessa Williams, the first-ever black Miss America in 1983. The Miss USA contest was created in 1952 and crowned the first African American contestant - Carole Anne-Marie Gist - in 1990. A year later, Janel Bishop won the Miss Teen USA title, becoming the first African American winner.
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