Hattie McDaniel was the first African-American actress to win an Academy Award. She won the award for best supporting actress for her role of Mammy in Gone with the Wind a film from 1939.
Hattie McDaniel was born June 10, 1895, in Wichita, Kansas, to former slaves. She was the youngest of 13 children, here she grew up to become one of the most controversial and historic figures of film.
In McDaniel's time, America was segregated in virtually every respect in terms of race. Hollywood was not color blind and relegated black performers to strictly subservient roles where they played maids, butlers and dim wits that were superstitious and un-educated. McDaniel infused her subservient roles with a bombastic personality that she enhanced with impeccable comic timing. Despite her success she was not without her critics.
The NAACP charged her with degrading herself and her race to which she responded “I would rather play a maid and make $700 than be a real one for $7.” The NAACP’s remarks started a contentious debate over whether McDaniel was a trial blazer or merely perpetuating racial stereotypes.
Despite others thoughts the academy award winning actress broke the color barrier in film, and covenant laws, to buy her house on Harvard Blvd. in West Adams. In the heart of what was Sugar Hill on Harvard. When McDaniel started making good money she, along with other wealthy African American entertainers and business people bought homes in the spacious and tidy neighborhood known as West Adam Heights. In 1938, old colonial mansions in Los Angeles, California ranges from $15,000 and up.
McDaniel had purchased her white,sprawling two-story, seventeen-room mansion in 1942. The house included a large living room, dining room, drawing room, den, butler's pantry, kitchen, service porch, library, four bedrooms, and a basement. McDaniel had a yearly Hollywood party in what was know as Sugar Hill.
Hattie McDaniel's house on Harvard Blvd. in West Adams where she through yearly Hollywood party.
Hattie McDaniel's in her house holding her Oscar,she won the award for best supporting actress for her role of Mammy in Gone with the Wind a film from 1939.