Eighty year ago, Hattie McDaniel to be the an initial African American to it is in nominated because that an Academy Award. On Feb. 29, 1940, she won for ideal supporting actress because that her duty as "Mammy" in "Gone through the Wind. "

When Hattie McDaniel winner the Academy compensation for best supporting actress on Feb. 29, 1940, because that her role as “Mammy” in the epic Civil battle movie “Gone through the Wind,” she was already one the the greatest African American movie stars, having had roles in at least 67 films prior to her Oscar-winning performance.

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She starred alongside major Hollywood heavyweights of the time, including James Cagney, Jean Harlow, Barbara Stanwyck, Joan Crawford and Ronald Reagan. Reports say she was great friends through Shirley Temple.

Although she was the very first African American actor to be nominated and also win one Academy Award, the moment was viewed as much more of a an individual victory because that McDaniel rather than an historic success for the black color community. Plenty of thought McDaniel had actually been typecast in subservient roles that perpetrated numerous difficult-to-accept racial stereotypes.


Hattie McDaniel was a major Hollywood star when she won the Oscar in 1940 for her role in “Gone through the Wind.” however many afri Americans at the moment felt the she had actually been typecast in functions that perpetrated plenty of difficult-to-accept gyeongju stereotypes.

Reports say even the NAACP disavowed her.

In “Gone through the Wind,” she play an opinionated, headscarf-wearing slave maid, emblematic of the Old South.

Throughout she career, McDaniel had to continually protect her decision come play the roles, when saying, “Why must I complain around making $700 a week play a maid? If ns didn’t, I’d it is in making $7 a week gift one.”

She was likewise criticized due to the fact that she appeared to deliberately prevent speaking on national politics or participating in social causes for civil rights. McDaniel did, however, sign up with the black Actors Guild of America so late in her career.

That to be 80 year ago, throughout the golden age of Hollywood, but more notably it was during the elevation of the Jim crow era, when regulations everywhere about the country advocated racial segregation and also the disenfranchisement of black color people.

McDaniel wasn"t enabled to to visit the Dec. 15, 1939, Atlanta premiere of the movie at Loew’s grand theater top top Peachtree Street, a reality recalled in modern-day popular culture, such together in the 2006 tune “Blunt Ashes,” in i m sorry rapper Nas exclaims:

"Yo, man, ns ... Begin thinking "bout Hattie McDaniel acquired an Oscar For play Mammy in "Gone v the Wind" And she didn"t gain allowed Wasn"t even enabled to go to the premier Believe that? Couldn"t walk to the premier, to she joint Man, you know they were solid back then, guy ..." 

It was claimed that her co-star in the film, actor Clark Gable — then well-known as “The King of Hollywood” — intimidated to boycott the premiere uneven McDaniel was permitted to attend, but McDaniel reportedly talked him the end of the protest.

McDaniel, however, was permitted to attend the Hollywood debut top top Dec. 28, 1939, and then the Oscars gala ~ above Feb. 29, 1940, in ~ the Cocoanut Grove nightclub within The Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles.

The Ambassador had a strictly “no-blacks” policy.

According to historic accounts, Hollywood producer David O. Selznick arranged for McDaniel come be enabled into the hotel together a favor. As soon as inside, McDaniel to be seated v an escort in ~ a small table across the room native Gable and also her other castmates consisting of Vivien Leigh and also Olivia de Havilland, who was additionally nominated in the same category as McDaniel.

McDaniel arrived in a rhinestone-studded turquoise gown v white gardenias in she hair, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

She was presented at the ceremony by actress Fay Bainter, who dubbed on the audience to stand and salute McDaniel.

The group erupted in cheers together McDaniel made her way to the stage at the 12th Academy Awards.

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In her accept speech, McDaniel spoke quickly from the heart, express deep humility and wiped away tears as she left the dais.

“Academy that Motion photo Arts and Sciences, other members the the motion picture industry and honored guests: This is one of the happiest moments of mine life, and also I want to give thanks to each one of you who had actually a component in picking me for among their awards, for her kindness. It has actually made me feel very, very humble; and I shall always hold it together a beacon because that anything that ns may be able to do in the future. Ns sincerely hope ns shall always be a credit transaction to mine race and to the motion photo industry. My heart is too full to tell girlfriend just how I feel, and also may ns say say thanks to you and also God bless you.”

Twenty-four years would certainly pass before an additional African-American actor, Sidney Poitier, took residence the prize for ideal actor in 1964.

Hattie McDaniel was born top top June 10, 1895, in Wichita, Kansas. She was the youngest of 13 children.

Her parents were freed slaves, and her father battled in the polite War.

Sam McDaniel, she brother, was likewise an actor, which opened up the door for Hattie in her at an early stage career. She complied with him ~ above a travel comedy troupe, and also then come Los Angeles, where she functioned menial work while writing and also singing songs, and also appearing on map out comedy radio shows, start in the so late 1920s and also then transparent the 1930s.

This synchronized with her entry come the film industry about 1932 and also she easily earned a reputation together a comedic actress. She didn’t get a display credit for some of her very first roles, but showed up in an extraordinary nine films the year of her debut.

When it pertained to the component of Mammy, accounts say she saw the audition pull on in an authentic maid’s uniform and won the component outright.

She to be 44 year old in ~ the time.

After her death, McDaniel’s Oscar was provided to Howard University, whereby it went lacking during the civil rights protests of the 1960s.

To this day, the award remains missing.

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McDaniel died on Oct. 26, 1952. She is hidden in Angelus-Rosedale Cemetery in Los Angeles.

She has actually two stars top top the Hollywood to walk of Fame: one because that radio and one for film.

Since McDaniel’s win, only 16 much more black actors have taken residence the Oscar for either a top or supporting role, and also only eight black color women, consisting of McDaniel, have won the finest supporting actress group in the 92-year history of the Academy Awards.

Here is a complete list of afri American actors who have actually won Academy Awards because McDaniel’s historical win, by year:

1964 — Sidney Poitier, "Lilies of the Field"1983 — Louis Gossett Jr.

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, "An Officer and a Gentleman"1990 — Denzel Washington, "Glory"1991 — Whoopi Goldberg, "Ghost"1997 — Cuba Gooding Jr., "Jerry Maguire"2002 — Denzel Washington, "Training Day"2002 — Halle Berry, "Monster"s Ball"2005 — Jamie Foxx, "Ray"2005 — Morgan Freeman, "Million dissension Baby"2007 — Forest Whitaker, "The critical King of Scotland"2007 — Jennifer Hudson, "Dreamgirls "2010 — Mo"Nique, "Precious"2012 — Octavia Spencer, "The Help"2014 — Lupita Nyong"o, "12 years a Slave"2017 — Viola Davis, "Fences"2017 — Mahershala Ali, "Moonlight"2019 — Mahershala Ali, "Green Book"2019 — Regina King, "If Beale Street might Talk"
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