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Hattie McDaniel’s Conflict With the NAACP and Tragic Death

by / June 20, 2014 video 25 Comments

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While many people simply know Hattie McDaniel as the first African American to win an Oscar in 1940 for her role as Mammy in Gone with the Wind, there is much more to her story than just that.  She was born June 10, 1885 in Wichita, Kansas.  She was the 13th child of a family of entertainers.  Her father was a minister who played the banjo, and her mother was a gospel singer.

McDaniel began her professional singing, dancing, and acting career while still in high school, and in 1910, she left school to perform full time with her father’s minstrel troupe.  She began performing on radio stations in 1925 and became the first African American woman to sing on American radio.

After moving to Los Angeles in the early 1930s and landing a couple of small acting gigs, McDaniel accepted the role that would define her career in 1939.  She played the house servant, Mammy, in Gone With the Wind, and became the first African American to win an Oscar.  None of the film’s black actors were allowed to attend the film’s premiere.

McDaniel’s role in Gone With the Wind as well as additional roles that she played through the 1940s brought her the criticism of NAACP president Walter White who felt that the roles were stereotypical and derogatory.  McDaniel responded to the controversy by “asserting her prerogative to accept whatever role she” chose.  She also highlighted the fact that characters such as Mammy showed audiences that black servants could do more than just measure up to their employers.

Eventually, McDaniel’s conflict with the NAACP and the simultaneous unfolding of the Civil Rights Movement caused the roles she was typecast for to dry up.  She made a return to radio, and won the approval of the NAACP by using her role to break racial stereotypes despite playing a maid.

Sadly, in 1952, McDaniel was diagnosed with breast cancer and died shortly after.  She was posthumously awarded two starts on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and was also inducted into the Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame.

Check out the following video to learn more about McDaniel’s life.  The video is a mini biography published by bio.com.

[leadplayer_vid id=”53A288D7834E6″]

Christine

25 Comment

  1. Check out her born date…I think you may be a tad bit off

  2. In 1942 Walter White of the NAACP flew to Hollywood to present the new face of the Negro Woman — Lena Horne. He and the actress lunched with several studio heads. McDaniel was not invited.

  3. Ms. McDaniel faced the same criticism as many face today. She once said, "I can earn $700 playing a maid or make $7 a week being one." She proudly lived her life despite her critics. This is further affirmation that we must follow our own path to create the life we want. There will always be people who have an opinion on how you should live – you decide who to give your ear, mind and heart.

  4. How did she win an Oscar in the 40s, how was she born on June 10, 1985?

    While many people simply know Hattie McDaniel as the first African American to win an Oscar in 1940 for her role as Mammy in Gone with the Wind, there is much more to her story than just that. She was born June 10, 1985 in Wichita, Kansas.

    I read this three times to make sure I was not missing something. I don’t care how you add and substract, that figure does not work.

  5. Author needs to proof read. How can she be born 1985. Please add correction thx

  6. She was born in 1895, not 1985 and she played a SLAVE, not a house servant. Quote is not an actual quote. Poorly written, not proofread, not edited. I REALLY want you to do better.

  7. I saw that to 1985………………!! yes what are you doing.

  8. I completely agree. I appreciate the fact that this website exists, but there are far too many errors and poorly written (and poorly researched) articles.

  9. Who writes these articles? A five year old could do a better job. Poorly written, facts are wrong, & never proof read.

  10. Her name in Gone With The Wind was Prissy not mammy.Secondly to me her most famous line in the film was not ‘I don’t no nothing about birthing no babies mz Scarlett but rather i knows mz scarlett means what she says when she says it.But I knows mr.Rhett means what the says when he says it .i am not getting tin the middle of white folks mess so i am just going to go to the kitchen.I would agree that 750,00 a week to play a slave is surely better than 7,00dollars a week and be one.Then as well as now the NAACP’s priorities are always in the wrong place.
    e

  11. Oh I could have sworn that prissy was played by the famous butterfly McQueen…I also could have sworn that it was miss McQueen who said I don’t no nothing about birthing no babies!

  12. i disagree with a Jew, the same Jews who kicked Marcus Garvey out of the country, sent black people into this hell called integration, and would not elect a black president until the civil rights movement was over, telling a black woman what to do.
    Jews never do anything unless it can benefit them. he probably wanted her as an ally in Hollywood.

  13. Let’s correct something. It was Butterfly McQueen that made the infamous statement “I don’t no nothin bout birth in babies”. As for Ms. McDaniel contribution to the film industry–it can never be measured as she played the rolls that were available to her during that time.

  14. The date that was written when she was born got my attention. I to wonder how this could have gross up any reader if they didn't see the error.

  15. […] via Hattie McDaniel’s Conflict With the NAACP and Tragic Death | Black Like Moi. […]

  16. We know Hattie McDaniel was the first Black and the first Black woman to win an Best Supporting Oscar for her role as “Mammy” in Gone With the Wind. She did not portray Prissy in the movie. Butterfly McQueen portrayed Prissy. The reason Hattie got praise or her role was because she portrayed her role with dignity. Prissy on the other hand did not receive the same praise.

  17. If you knew the legend you donot pay attention to typo's just the fact that she is being remembered is an honour a "unsung hero".
    "Hattie McDaniel"

  18. Ibrahim Sundiata this is What the Anglo system perpetuate division. They plant a seed (dark skin actress) against (lighter skin actress) . Sit back and watch Black Folk (light and dark) act like jack asses.
    My daughter found this out in Middle school, she was on a cheering squad of 16 girls. She was the only Black with dark complexion and their was the fair skin Black cheerleader. The other girls were was white. They were questioning about another Black Cheerleaders, my daughter stated "Oh you are talking about the other cheerleader she is not black she light skinned".
    They told her we do not see a difference in you all color. Both of you are Black as far as we are concerned". This has been a life lesson for her. When I told her she did not understand.
    There was no difference between Ms Daniels or Ms. Horne I loved them both for What they did to help me in the struggle.
    They were not cowards. They did not have time to correct each other or call each other out they knew they had to change things.

  19. IT READS THAT SHE WAS BORN N 1885 NOT 1985.

  20. why does America keep us in one period of OUR Timeline??? Especially now in the "Information Age"??? IJS. #theblindinglightofmisinformationmustend

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