On Sept. 17, 1983, the glamorous and quite versatile Vanessa Williams became the first African American to win the Miss America pageant. Born on March 18, 1963 in Millwood, NY, Williams was the daughter of music teachers Helen and Milton Augustine Williams Jr.
As a child, her love for music and performing arts blossomed. In high school, the multi-talented actress played the French horn in the orchestra and was awarded the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts scholarship. She attended Sycracuse University in 1981 and majored in musical theater.