Tuesday, February 28, 2012

This Day in History February 29, 1940

What a way to end Black History Month (since I didn't really celebrate it this year--I always used to when I taught regularly).  It was on this date in 1940 that Hattie McDaniel became the first African American to win an Academy Award.  Gone With the Wind walked away with 8 Oscars, and I am so glad she was one of them!  And isn't it ironic that we just saw the second African American woman in history to get Best Supporting Actress for The Help (Go Octavia Spencer!).

I didn't realize that she was more talented than just playing Mammy.  She was the first African American singer on the radio, and she appeared in over 300 films (only received screen credit for about 80).  She was born to former slaves, and she did a lot to elevate black characters in films.  And you know, it is true.  Think about Gone With the Wind if you have seen it.  Who is smarter--Mammy or Scarlet?  I think we can easily say that Mammy was extremely quick-witted and sharp.  She often oversteps her bounds.

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