Hundreds pay respects to actor Cicely Tyson at her viewing at Harlem church

Manhattan

HARLEM, Manhattan — People traveled across the country and stood in a block-long line to pay respects to Cicely Tyson at a public viewing Monday.

Hundreds of admirers of the pioneering Black actor lined up outside Harlem’s famed Abyssinian Baptist Church on a wintry Monday. Some said they had come from as far as Atlanta or Los Angeles to be there.

Many in the multigenerational crowd held photos of Tyson, who died Jan. 28. The New York-born actor was 96.

Her family said masks and social distancing would be required at the viewing.

Tyson was the first Black woman to have a recurring role in a dramatic television series, the 1963 drama “East Side, West Side.”

Her performance as a sharecropper’s wife in the 1972 movie “Sounder” cemented her stardom and earned her an Oscar nomination.

She went on to win two Emmy Awards for playing the 110-year-old former slave in the 1974 television drama “The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman” and another Emmy 20 years later for “Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All.”

At age 88, Tyson won a Tony Award for the revival of Horton Foote’s “The Trip to Bountiful” in 2013.

President Barack Obama awarded her the Medal of Freedom in 2016.

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