It was 29 years ago today that Vanessa Williams became the first African-American woman to be crowned Miss America. I will never forget this night. My daughter was then a 10-year-old who loved watching beauty pageants. I really didn’t like her to watch them because I didn’t want her to get the message that a black girl could never win—which up to this night was the situation. When Vanessa won I had tears in my eyes because suddenly my baby’s eyes were shining with joy and with hope for HER future.