Karen Grigsby Bates

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Dancer and choreographer Arthur Mitchell has died.

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ARTHUR MITCHELL: I was the first black classical dancer with a major company in the United States of America.

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Designers are rolling out their spring lines and the runways are looking more diverse than ever. But the comparative abundance of models who are people of color didn't happen overnight.

There was the occasional — very occasional — model who wasn't white in the 50s and early 60s on runways. But African-American models put American couture on the map in 1973 when they walked the runway in France in what's become known as The Battle of Versailles.