CENTRAL FALLS, R.I. (WPRI) — Viola Davis brought the audience to its feet Sunday night with her acceptance speech and history-making Emmy win.
Davis, a Central Falls native, is the first African-American woman to win Lead Actress in a Drama since the award show started in 1949.
Her sister, Deloris, spoke with Eyewitness News Monday – saying how proud she is of her baby sister.
“It brings tears to my eyes,” she said.
Davis received a standing ovation for her speech. “The only thing that separates women of color from anyone else is opportunity,” she said.
Deloris, a high school drama teacher at Central Falls High School, watched her sister’s win from Rhode Island.
“Listening to that speech, knowing that my sister broke down that barrier, a girl from Central Falls, a girl from St. Matthews, South Carolina,” she said proudly.
Deloris said she and Viola are two years apart – and they were both born on a former slave plantation.
When they grew up, they joined the drama club together at Central Falls high.
Viola went on to graduate from Rhode Island College – and later from Juilliard.
“You know, Viola always said ‘dream big and dream fierce,’” Deloris said.
She told Eyewitness News she speaks with her sister almost every day. After talking to her Monday, she said Viola was “ecstatically happy” about her monumental win.
Cumberland native Richard Jenkins also had a shining moment during the awards. He won for Outstanding Lead Actor in a limited series or movie for his role in Olive Kitteridge.