Did you know?
The first African American to win an Academy Award was Hattie McDaniel for her role as Mammy in Gone with the Wind (1939). She won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress; however ,the moment, according to “Finding the Oscar,” by W. Burlette Carter, was bittersweet. Carter wrote that while many African Americans celebrated her award as a personal victory, some felt the performance reinforced racist black stereotypes to majority white audiences amidst the civil rights movement.
McDaniel winning the Oscar:
A Bittersweet Victory
The hotel that McDaniel received her Oscar in was actually the whites only Ambassador’s Cocoanut Grove nightclub and had a strict no black policy. McDaniel was allowed in as a favor.
The Missing Oscar
The whereabouts of McDaniel’s Oscar are currently unknown. At her death, she left the award to the historically black university, Howard University, but in 1998, Howard University stated that it could find no written record of the Oscar having arrived.