1940 February 29

Hattie McDaniel First African-American to Win Oscar – Forced to Sit at Segregated Table


African-American actress Hattie McDaniel won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress on this day for her role as Mammy in the classic film Gone With the Wind. Her acceptance speech acknowledged the racial significance of her winning the Oscar. At the awards ceremony at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, however, she was forced to sit in the back of the room at a separate table from the white attendees.

The first African American male to win a best actor Academy Award was Sidney Poitier in 1963 for Lilies of the Field. An African American male did not win the best actor award for another 38 years: Denzel Washington for Training Day.

An African American woman did not win the Best Acretss award until 2001 when Halle Berry won for her performance in Monster’s Ball, 62 years after Hattie McDaniel won.

Watch Hattie McDaniel accepting the Oscar: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e7t4pTNZshA

Read: Jill Watts, Hattie McDaniel: Black Ambition, White Hollywood (2005)

Watch a short biography of McDaniel: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OI3zsRTgYHE

Find a Day

Abortion Rights ACLU african-americans Alice Paul anti-communism Anti-Communist Hysteria Birth Control Brown v. Board of Education Censorship CIA Civil Rights Civil Rights Act of 1964 Cold War Espionage Act FBI First Amendment Fourteenth Amendment freedom of speech Free Speech Gay Rights Hate Speech homosexuality Hoover, J. Edgar HUAC Japanese American Internment King, Dr. Martin Luther Ku Klux Klan Labor Unions Lesbian and Gay Rights Loyalty Oaths McCarthy, Sen. Joe New York Times Obscenity Police Misconduct Same-Sex Marriage Separation of Church and State Sex Discrimination Smith Act Spying Spying on Americans Vietnam War Voting Rights Voting Rights Act of 1965 War on Terror Watergate White House Women's Rights Women's Suffrage World War I World War II Relocation Camps


Tell Us What You Think

We want to hear your comments, criticisms and suggestions!