Zendaya Will Play 1st African-American Woman to Graduate From Vassar

Reese Witherspoon Zendaya

Zendaya Will Play 1st African-American Woman to Graduate From Vassar

Hemmings is a real life woman who was the first African American woman to graduate from Vassar College.

The actress has signed on to star in and produce the film, which will be based on Karin Tanabe's book The Gilded Years.

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Though the daughter of a janitor and descendent of slaves, with her olive complexion and dark hair, Anita was able to "pass" as white when she set out to attend the prestigious Vassar during the late 1890s.

For almost four years, Hemmings hid her true identity and was treated as an elite white woman at the school of her dreams until her roommate grew suspicious of her race, according to Vassar's alumnae publication.

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Zendaya will take on the role of Anita Hemmings.

If her brief, scene-stealing appearances in the new Tom Holland-fronted Spider-Man: Homecoming weren't enough of an indicator, Zendaya is very much no longer just one of Disney's multi-hyphenate ingenues. According to a report by Deadline, which called the film "the hottest pitch package" around Hollywood, the 21-year-old actress will play Hemmings, based on a script by The Leftovers and Fargo writer Monica Beletsky. She produced and starred in two episodes of the Disney Channel's K.C. Undercover earlier this year.

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She will also be co-starring in the musical The Greatest Showman in December alongside actors Hugh Jackman and Zac Efron.

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