February marks Black History Month. Follow the AJC this month for a series of short stories and videos and people, places and events that played a significant role in the development of black people in America.
From Julia to Dominique Deveraux, the career of Diahann Carroll has spanned nearly six decades, making her an entertainment icon and an African-American pioneer. Born in the Bronx, Carroll made her motion picture debut in the classic “Carmen Jones,” one of the first major studio movies to feature an all-black cast. In the 1950s and 1960s, she bounced around television, movies and Broadway, becoming the first black woman to win a Tony for best actress for the role of Barbara Woodruff in the musical No Strings. She is perhaps best known for her starring role in the 1968 television series “Julia,” where she played a nurse. “Julia” the show and Julia the nurse defined the politics of respectability as it became the first television series to star a black woman who was not a domestic worker. Carroll won a Golden Globe for the role in 1968 and was nominated for an Emmy a year later. The series ran until 1971 and Carroll returned to movies, getting an Academy Award nomination for “Claudine” in 1974. She returned to television in 1984 playing the over-the-top Dominique Deveraux in “Dynasty.” In 2011, she was inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame.