KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — An elementary school teacher has become the first African-American woman to be crowned Miss Tennessee.
News outlets report Miss Greene County Brianna Mason won the pageant at the University of Tennessee on Saturday night in her fourth attempt.
The 23-year-old Mason is a Nashville native who was second-runner-up in last year’s pageant when she competed as Miss Knoxville.
Mason says she was determined to win the pageant for all young black women. She says, “I’m here to tell you that it does not matter what your skin color is. It does not matter what your religion is. You can do anything that you want.”
Miss Lexington Lauren Dickson was named first runner-up. The pageant was held outside of the west Tennessee city of Jackson for the first time.
Mason will compete in the Miss America pageant later this year.