Viola Davis just won the Emmy for lead actress in a drama on How To Get Away With Murder, and it wasn't just a sign of the incredible success creator Shonda Rhimes continues to have — it was also the first win for an African-American woman in the category in the history of the Emmys. It followed Uzo Aduba's win for best supporting actress earlier in the evening.
Opening her speech with an evocative quote from Harriet Tubman, Davis quickly got to the point of why it's taken this long for a black woman to win the award. "Let me tell you something. The only thing that separates women of color from anyone else is opportunity," she said. "You cannot win an Emmy for roles that are simply not there."
"You cannot win an Emmy for roles that are simply not there."
The category was filled this year with a variety of well-known names, along with several exciting Emmy newcomers. Claire Danes was nominated for the latest season of Homeland, as was Viola Davis for How To Get Away With Murder. Robin Wright earned a nomination for House of Cards for the third consecutive year, but it was two other nominations that were the most exciting for many fans: Taraji P. Henson for her role in this year's breakout hit Empire, and Tatiana Maslany, who was finally recognized for her multiple shapeshifting performances in Orphan Black.