Beah Richards, Beulah Richardson

Beah Richards (1920–2000), born Beulah Richardson in Vicksburg, Mississippi, was an author, poet, playwright, and actress who left the South for New York City in 1950 to pursue an acting career. In 1965, she received a Tony nomination for Best Actress (Dramatic) for her appearance in James Baldwin's The Amen Corner on Broadway. She won an Academy Award nomination for her role in the 1967 film Guess Who's Coming to Dinner. She won an Emmy Award in 1987 for her role in Frank's Place and again in 2000 (just days before her death) for her performance in The Practice. For her work on the legitimate stage, she received the Paul Robeson Pioneer Award, and was inducted into the NAACP Image Awards Hall of Fame. Her poem "Keep Climbing, Girls" was turned into a picture book, inspiring girls' power, and was published posthumously in 2006 by Simon & Schuster. In her efforts to improve work conditions for women artists in theatre and film, Beah Richards said, "There are a lot of movies out there that I would hate to be paid to do, some real demeaning, real woman-denigrating stuff. It is up to women to change their roles. They are going to have to write the stuff and do it. And they will." (I Dream a World: Portraits of Black Women Who Changed America)

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