Vanessa Williams meets with new barrier-breaking Miss America Nina Davuluri

Thirty years ago this month singer and actress Vanessa Williams became the first Miss America of color.

Although she was initially subjected to hate mail and wound up resigning in disgrace, her achievement is now fondly remembered for its cultural significance,

This year, the new Miss America, Nina Davuluri, is facing a similar backlash because she is the first Indian American to wear the crown.

Davuluri has been subjected to cruel and unapologetically racist invective on social media sites like Twitter, with some even calling her a “terrorist.”

On Wednesday, Davuluri commiserated with Williams backstage at her Broadway play A Trip to Bountiful.

As for the attacks she’s endured, the reigning Miss America said, “I have to rise above that. I always viewed myself as first and foremost American.”

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