"This moment is so much bigger than me. This moment is for Dorothy Dandridge, Lena Horne, Diahann Carroll. It's for the women who stand behind me, Jada Pinkett, Angela Bassett, Vivica Fox and it's for every nameless faceless woman of color that now has a chance because this door tonight has been opened."
With those words, Halle Berry accepted her Best Actress Oscar last night, marking the first time in the history of the Academy Awards that an African-American woman took home the Best Actress honors. On the same night, Denzel Washington took home the Best Actor award, becoming only the second African-American man to win that honor, and the first since Sidney Poitier won the award in 1963.
This hour, we examine the significance of these awards for African-Americans — both in Hollywood and in society as a whole. Have new doors really been opened, as Halle Berry asserted? Or is this just a victory that was way overdue?
Lani Guinier, professor at the Harvard Law School
author of "The Miner's Canary: Enlisting Race, Resisting Power, Transforming Democracy"
Audrey McKlusky, Director of the Black Film Center
Associate Professor of Afro-American Studies at Indiana University
This program aired on March 25, 2002.