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Val Gray Ward, actress, producer, cultural activist and internationally known theater personality, was born on August 21, 1932, in Mound Bayou, Mississippi, America's oldest all-black town. As the daughter of a successful minister, Ward showed an early interest in performance. She eagerly read poems and did readings for her father's congregation and won various oratorical competitions in school. Above all, she was keenly interested in African American literature. [+]