Hattie McDaniel: A winner, segregated even at the awards night

Not all Oscar winners are equal, as the story of Hattie McDaniel shows. The daughter of former slaves, she worked as an actress in Hollywood, playing maids on screen, and also, because her salary was so low, playing them for real. She won the part of Mammy in Gone with the Wind. It was a role criticized for feeding a black stereotype, but it won her an Oscar for best supporting actress. What it didn’t win her was equality. She could not attend the film’s premiere in Atlanta because of the venue’s “no blacks” rule. When it came to the Oscars, she had to sit in the segregated part.

Hattie McDaniel WWII