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Paul Robeson Citation Award

Paul Robeson Award Goes to Micki Grant

Councillor Julia Breanetta Simpson, Micki Grant, President Mark Zimmerman

Multi-award winning actress, composer/lyricist and playwright, Micki Grant, has been awarded Equity's 2009 Paul Robeson Award, which was presented at the Eastern Region Membership Meeting on October 9, 2009.

The presentation was made by Julia Breanetta Simpson, Co-Chair of the Paul Robeson Citation Award Committee, who recounted the criteria for the award and noted that Ms. Grant met them all. "She's an all-around gem of a lady."

Micki Grant has performed on and Off-Broadway and in theatres around the country. She made her Broadway debut as the ingénue in Langston Hughes' TAMBOURINES TO GLORY. She starred in DON'T BOTHER ME, I CAN'T COPE, and was also author and composer, as well. She received a Grammy Award for the score plus the Outer Critics Circle Award for score and performance, and the Drama Desk Award for lyrics and performance. DON'T BOTHER ME, I CAN'T COPE received five Tony nominations, including Best Musical. Ms. Grant was again Grammy nominated as the lyricist and composer for YOUR ARMS TOO SHORT TO BOX WITH GOD. She also contributed several songs to the musical, Working, and received a Tony nomination for her "work." When YOUR ARMS TOO SHORT TO BOX WITH GOD and SO NICE TO BE CIVILIZED opened on successive evenings, she had the distinction of having two Broadway musicals running simultaneously. Ms. Grant played "Sadie Delaney" in the tour of HAVING OUR SAY: THE DELANEY SISTERS' FIRST 100 YEARS, for which she received the Helen Hayes Award, and also appeared in regional productions of THE CRADLE WILL ROCK, BRECHT ON BRECHT, and TO BE YOUNG, GIFTED AND BLACK.

On TV, she was the first African-American contract player on a soap, playing legal secretary turned attorney Peggy Nolan on NBC's Another World for seven years, and she also had recurring roles on The Edge of Night and Guiding Light.

Ms. Grant served for many years on both the New York Local and National Boards of AFTRA; she was the first National Chair of that union's Equal Employment Opportunities Committee; and was a delegate to more than 20 AFTRA National Conventions. In 2002, she received AFTRA's Annual Women' s Image Now Award presented by the New York Local's Women's Committee and in 2007 she was the recipient of the Sidney Poitier Lifelong Achievement Award presented at the National Black Theatre Festival.

Accepting the Robeson Award from her "parent union," Ms. Grant offered "deep, deep thanks for the recognition." She was "humbled," she said, to become a member of the distinguished roster of previous recipients, including Mr. Robeson himself, Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee, Harry Belafonte, Studs Terkel, Lena Horne, Maya Angelou, Lloyd Richards, and, last year, Sidney Poitier.

Friends and supporters from L to R:
(Back Row) Denise Gray, Mary Louise, Julia Breanetta Simpson, Woody Henderson, Ajene Washington, Dr. Glory Van Scott, Woodie King, Jr, Evelyn Collins
(Center) Robeson Award Recipient Micki Grant
(Front Row) Sir Louis Jones, Teddy Williams


Award pages:

Arizona Theatre Service
Diversity on Broadway

On June 1, 1971, the Council of Actors' Equity Association established what is now known as the Paul Robeson Committee, and designated Frederick O'Neal as Chair. The Committee resolved to present annual citations to the individual or organization that, during the preceding year or years, best exemplified and practiced the principles and ideals of this great humanitarian, Paul Robeson. For a complete list of recipients click here.

Paul Robeson as Othello

Recipients of the Paul Robeson Award are:

Year Recipient
1974 Paul Robeson
1975 Ossie Davis & Ruby Dee
1976 Lillian Hellman
1977 Pete Seeger
1978 Sam Jaffe
1979 Harry Belafonte
1980 Alice Childress
1981 Studs Terkel
1982 Ed Asner
1983 John Henry Faulk
1984 Lena Horne
1985 Arthur Mitchell
1986 Vinie Burrows
1987 Joe Papp
1988 Jacques D'Amboise
1989 Bill Ross & Dr. Margaret Burroughs
1990 Maya Angelou
1991 Gordon Parks
1992 Art D'Lugoff
1993 Katherine Dunham
1994 Lloyd Richards
1995 Gil Noble
1996 George C. Wolfe
1997 Athol Fugard
1998 Leonard Etienne de Paul
1999 Loften Mitchell
2000 Rosetta LeNoire
2001 Brock Peters
2002 Gertrude Jeanette
2003 Woodie King, Jr.
2004 Judith Jamison
2005 Carl Harms
2006 Bill Cosby
2007 Mercedes Ellington
2008 Sidney Poitier
2009 Micki Grant
2010 Charles Randolph-Wright
2011 James Earl Jones
2012 William Greaves
2013 Shauneille Perry
2014 Baayork Lee
2015 Arthur French
2016 ASTEP
2017 Jamal Joseph

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