Viola Davis: 'I Was Beaten for Being Black'

February 3, 2012 By:
Viola Davis: 'I Was Beaten for Being Black'

Oscar-nominated actress Viola Davis has opened up about her childhood, revealing that she was tormented as a kid because of her skin color.

“I have stories of being spit on,” The Help star recollects in a TV interview with Vogue Contributing Editor Andre Leon Talley. Having grown up in Rhode Island, Davis said:

“You have to realize I was in a predominantly white culture... and third grade was the worst because every day after school I would wait at the door and the bell would ring. And as soon as the bell rang I ran as fast as I could from the front door to my house, which was at least a mile away, because I would have eight to nine boys with sticks, bricks, anything they could find, who were ready to kill me."

It’s amazing that we still have entire generations of people who experienced this, yet people still like to tell you that racism is ancient history. Davis says she told her parents about the bullying and her mom sent her to school with a crochet needle to protect herself.

“She said, ‘Viola, I want you to take my crochet needle and you put it in your pocket and if they stop you again you tell them you're gonna (stab) 'em."

The 46 year-old actress grew up in Central Falls, Rhode Island and has previously described herself as having “lived in abject poverty and dysfunction.”