Today’s Dame of the Day is Raven Wilkinson (November 2, 1935-). At age five, a performance by the Ballet Russes brought her to tears and she begged her parents to let her take lessons. Her uncle bought her lessons for her ninth birthday and Wilkinson never stopped dancing. She began her career with the Ballet Russes, making her the first black ballerina in a major ballet company. When racist politics drove her from the company, she joined the Dutch National Company and later the New York City Ballet.