For the first time in history, Miss America, Miss USA and Miss Teen USA are all black women

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Monday, May 6, 2019

For the first time in history, three black women have been crowned as Miss USA, Miss Teen USA and Miss America. Cheslie Kryst's win on Thursday as 2019's Miss USA helped create the historic moment.

The Miss America pageant didn't allow women of color to participate until the 1940s. Actress Vanessa Williams was the first black woman to win Miss America back in 1983, but she was forced to resign her post after earlier nude photos surfaced. The Miss USA contest didn't have a black woman win until 1990, and a year later Miss Teen USA followed.

Joining the newly crowned Miss USA in this historic trio is 2019 Miss Teen USA Kaliegh Garris and 2019 Miss America Nia Franklin.

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Cheslie Kryst is a 27-year-old lawyer from North Carolina who represents prison inmates for free and will now advance to the Miss Universe competition. Nia Franklin was crowned in September and was the first to win without putting on a swimsuit. Kaliegh Garris won recently in April and looks forward to becoming a trauma nurse, according to AP.

"Mine is the first generation to have that forward-looking mindset that has inclusivity, diversity, strength and empowered women," said Kryst, after accepting her crown. "I'm looking forward to continued progress in my generation."

"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," professor in the Department of African and African American Studies at Duke University Thomas DeFrantz told the Associated Press.

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