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

As it began on a wintry Monday morning, admirers of the pioneering Black actor already were lined up down the block outside Harlem’s famed Abyssinian Baptist Church. Some said they had come from as far as Atlanta or Los Angeles to be there.


Cicely Tyson poses with her Emmy statuettes at the annual Emmy Awards presentation in Los Angeles, Ca., May 28, 1974. AP Photo, File

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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