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Datum objave: 12.06.2020

Was ‘Gone With the Wind’ Actress Hattie McDaniel Forced to Sit in th e Back at the Oscars?

Hattie with speech from Oscars

Was ‘Gone With the Wind’ Actress Hattie McDaniel Forced to Sit in the Back at the Oscars?

Hattie with speech from Oscars

"Hey, Whatever Happened to Hattie McDaniel?" Guest host Nesha Mason narrates this edition of the show. Hattie McDaniel's acceptance speech used by permission from the Academy Film Archive.

Hattie McDaniel winning Best Supporting Actress

Hattie McDaniel Arrives at the Coconut Grove

Rita Dove reads her poem "Hattie McDaniel Arrives at the Coconut Grove", about the first African American to receive an Academy Award ("Oscar") -- in 1940, best supporting female role, for "Mamie" in "Gone with the Wind". From Rita Dove's poetry book "American Smooth" (W.W. Norton, New York), © 2004 by Rita Dove. All rights reserved.

The Home of Hattie McDaniel

The Period Revival residence at 2203 South Harvard Boulevard was home to actress Hattie McDaniel beginning in the 1940s. Born in 1895 to two former slaves in Wichita, Kansas, McDaniel became the first black American to win an Academy Award in 1939. She was honored for her role as Mammy in Gone with the Wind. In 1941, she moved into the Sugar Hill neighborhood of Los Angeles. At that time, Sugar Hill was popular among black celebrities (some notable residents include Joe Louis, Little Richard, Ray Charles, and "Sweet Daddy" Grace). Her house was designed by local architect Lester S. Moore in 1911. In 1949, white residents filed a lawsuit against McDaniel and other black homeowners in the Sugar Hill neighborhood because their property deeds forbade sale to non-Caucasians. After she was taken to court, a judge ruled in favor of McDaniel and other black homeowners on the grounds of the 14th Amendment. This amendment prohibits depriving individuals of life, freedom, and property without due process of law, and also prohibits the state from curtailing the privileges and protections of citizens. Ms. McDaniel purchased this home in 1941, but not after a fight. Some of her neighbors complained that there was a 'restricted covenant' in West Adams Heights, dating back to 1902 that prevented the house being sold to non-Caucasians and so she had to fight that lawsuit in court...and she won. Louise Beavers and Ethel Waters were able to save their homes in West Adams because of this action as well. There are 17 rooms in all, a large living room, dining room, drawing room, den, butler's pantry, kitchen, service porch, library, and four bedrooms. It was decorated in a Chinese theme. Every year she would hold a big party and many of the legends of Hollywood attended - including Rhett Butler... Clark Gable. Hattie McDaniel died several years ago, in 1952, of breast cancer not far from here - at the Motion Picture House. She was 57 years old.

Where Hattie McDaniel Lived From 1941 To 1952

If one should love to go see Miss Hattie's old mansion house, then it is at 2203 Harvard Blvd just South of the 10 freeway and East of Arlington Avenue.

Hattie McDaniels

First Black actor to win an Oscar.


She was the first Black woman to win an Academy Award for her portrayal of "Mammy" in the movie.

 Black actress Hattie McDaniel was not allowed to sit with her white co-stars during the Academy Awards ceremony in 1940.

On June 9, 2020, the streaming service HBO Max announced that it was temporarily pulling the 1939 movie “Gone With The Wind” from its library due to its depiction of slavery, the Civil War, and Black Americans, and that when the movie returned, it would be accompanied by a discussion on the movie’s historical context.

The announcement sparked a flurry of messages on social media, with some arguing that pulling the movie for its depiction of race was hypocritical, even though it was the vehicle that led to the first Academy Award for a Black actress, Hattie McDaniel.

Others noted, however, that while McDaniel was the first Black person to win an Oscar, her win at the 1940 Academy Awards was somewhat overshadowed by the fact that she was forced to sit in the back of the room where the event was hosted, separate from her white co-stars.

The 12th Academy Awards were held at Coconut Grove Nightclub in the Ambassador Hotel on Feb. 29, 1940. “Gone With the Wind” was the most nominated film of the night, and the movie’s white stars were seated at a table near the main stage. 

The Hollywood Reporter noted that the Cocoanut Grove had a strict “no blacks” policy, and that McDaniel was only allowed to be inside the building after David Selznick, the movie’s producer, called in to request a special favor:

The 12th Academy Awards were held at the famed Cocoanut Grove nightclub in The Ambassador Hotel. McDaniel arrived in a rhinestone-studded turquoise gown with white gardenias in her hair … McDaniel then was escorted, not to the Gone With the Wind table — where Selznick sat with de Havilland and his two Oscar-nominated leads, Vivien Leigh and Clark Gable — but to a small table set against a far wall, where she took a seat with her escort, F.P. Yober, and her white agent, William Meiklejohn. With the hotel’s strict no-blacks policy, Selznick had to call in a special favor just to have McDaniel allowed into the building (it was officially integrated by 1959, when the Unruh Civil Rights Act outlawed racial discrimination in California).

The 2008 book “African Americans and the Oscar: Decades of Struggle and Achievement” noted that McDaniel was the first Black actor to attend an Academy Awards banquet, but also noted that the award-winning actress was relegated to a table in the back of the room:

The Academy Awards ceremony took place at the Coconut Grove of the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles on February 29, 1940. Hattie was the first African American attendee at an Academy banquet. She was relegated to sitting with her escort at a rear table away from the Caucasion attendees, but Hattie was too much of the consummate professional to complain.

A video from the Oscars’ YouTube channel gives a longer (although not complete) look at her speech. As Fay Bainter presents the award, the camera cuts to show prominent white actors in the crowd, but McDaniel is nowhere to be seen:

Today is Hattie McDaniel’s birthday. The first black woman to win an Acadeny Award for her role as “Mammy” in “Gone With The Wind.” Also today, @hbomax decided you should no longer be able to watch her achievement.

Kategorije: Film
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