But did she stay the night of the Awards at the Ritz Carlton or a 'colored' hotel?
Gone with the Wind
The competition to win the part of Mammy in Gone with the Wind was almost as stiff as that for Scarlett O'Hara. First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt wrote to film producer David O. Selznick to ask that her own maid, Elizabeth McDuffie, be given the part. McDaniel did not think she would be chosen because she had earned her reputation as a comic actress. One source claimed that Clark Gable recommended that the role be given to McDaniel; in any case, she went to her audition dressed in an authentic maid's uniform and won the part.
Upon hearing of the planned film adaptation, the NAACP fought hard to require the film's producer and director to delete racial epithets from the movie (in particular the offensive slur "nigger") and to alter scenes that might be incendiary and that, in their view, were historically inaccurate. Of particular concern was a scene from the novel in which black men attack Scarlett O'Hara, after which the Ku Klux Klan, with its long history of provoking terror on black communities, is presented as a savior. Throughout the South, black men were being lynched based upon false allegations they had harmed white women. That attack scene was altered, and some offensive language was modified, but another epithet, "darkie", remained in the film, and the film's message with respect to slavery remained essentially the same. Consistent with the book, the film's screenplay also referred to poor whites as "white trash", and it ascribed these words equally to characters black and white.
Some critics felt that McDaniel not only accepted the roles but also in her statements to the press acquiesced in Hollywood's stereotypes, providing fuel for critics of those who were fighting for black civil rights. Later, when McDaniel tried to take her "Mammy" character on a road show, black audiences did not prove receptive.
While many blacks were happy over McDaniel's personal victory, they also viewed it as bittersweet. They believed Gone With the Wind celebrated the slave system and condemned the forces that destroyed it. For them, the unique accolade McDaniel had won suggested that only those who did not protest Hollywood's systemic use of racial stereotypes could find work and success there.
McDaniel was the most famous of the black homeowners who helped to organize the black West Adams neighborhood residents who saved their homes. Loren Miller, an attorney and the owner and publisher of the California Eagle newspaper, represented the minority homeowners in their restrictive covenant case. In 1944, Miller won the case Fairchild v Rainers, a decision in favor of a black family in Pasadena, California, who had bought a nonrestricted lot but was sued by white neighbors anyway.
Time magazine, in its issue of December 17, 1945, reported that
Spacious, well-kept West Adams Heights still had the complacent look of the days when most of Los Angeles' aristocracy lived there....
In 1938, Negroes, willing and able to pay $15,000 and up for Heights property, had begun moving into the old eclectic mansions. Many were movie folk — Actresses Louise Beavers, Hattie McDaniel, Ethel Waters, etc. They improved their holdings, kept their well-defined ways, quickly won more than tolerance from most of their white neighbors.
But some whites, refusing to be comforted, had referred to the original racial restriction covenant that came with the development of West Adams Heights back in 1902 which restricted "Non-caucasians" from owning property. For seven years they had tried to enforce it, but failed. Then they went to court....
Superior Judge Thurmond Clarke decided to visit the disputed ground—popularly known as "Sugar Hill." ... Next morning, ... Judge Clarke threw the case out of court. His reason: "It is time that members of the Negro race are accorded, without reservations or evasions, the full rights guaranteed them under the 14th Amendment to the Federal Constitution. Judges have been avoiding the real issue too long."
Said Hattie McDaniel, of West Adams Heights: "Words cannot express my appreciation."
McDaniel had purchased her white, two-story, seventeen-room house 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. Everyone knew that the king of Hollywood, Clark Gable, could always be found at McDaniel's parties.
Controversy over roles
As her fame grew, McDaniel faced growing criticism from some members of the black community. Groups such as the NAACP complained that Hollywood stereotypes not only restricted blacks to servant roles but often portrayed blacks as lazy, dim-witted, satisfied with lowly positions, or violent. In addition to addressing studios, they called upon actors, and especially leading black actors, to pressure studios to offer more substantive roles and at least not pander to stereotypes. They also argued that these portrayals were unfair as well as inaccurate and that, coupled with segregation and other forms of discrimination, such stereotypes were making it difficult for all blacks, not only actors, to overcome racism and succeed. Some attacked McDaniel for being an "Uncle Tom"—a person willing to advance personally by perpetuating racial stereotypes or being an agreeable agent of offensive racial restrictions. McDaniel characterized these challenges as class-based biases against domestics, a claim that white columnists seemed to accept. And she reportedly said, "Why should I complain about making $700 a week playing a maid? If I didn't, I'd be making $7 a week being one."
McDaniel may also have been criticized because, unlike many other black entertainers, she was not associated with civil rights protests and was largely absent from efforts to establish a commercial base for independent black films. She did not join the Negro Actors Guild of America until 1947, late in her career. McDaniel hired one of the few white agents who would represent black actors in those days, William Meiklejohn, to advance her career. Evidence suggests her avoidance of political controversy was deliberate. When columnist Hedda Hopper sent her Richard Nixon placards and asked McDaniel to distribute them, McDaniel declined, replying she had long ago decided to stay out of politics. "Beulah is everybody's friend," she said. Since she was earning a living honestly, she added, she should not be criticized for accepting such work as was offered. Her critics, especially Walter White of the NAACP, claimed that she and other actors who agreed to portray stereotypes were not a neutral force but rather willing agents of black oppression.
McDaniel and other black actresses and actors feared that their roles would evaporate if the NAACP and other Hollywood critics complained too loudly. She blamed these critics for hindering her career and sought the help of allies of doubtful reputation. After speaking with McDaniel, Hedda Hopper even claimed that McDaniel's career troubles were not the result of racism but had been caused by McDaniel's "own people".
The Ironic part:
Whereabouts of the McDaniel Oscar
The whereabouts of McDaniel's Oscar are currently unknown. In 1992, Jet magazine reported that Howard University could not find it and alleged that it had disappeared during protests in the 1960s. In 1998, Howard University stated that it could find no written record of the Oscar having arrived at Howard. In 2007, an article in the Huffington Post repeated rumors that the Oscar had been cast into the Potomac River by angry civil rights protesters in the 1960s. The assertion reappeared in the Huffington Post under the same byline in 2009.
In 2010, Mo'Nique, the winner of the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, wearing a blue dress and gardenias in her hair, as McDaniel had at the ceremony in 1940, in her acceptance speech thanked McDaniel "for enduring all that she had to so that I would not have to". Her speech revived interest in the whereabouts of McDaniel's plaque. In 2011, J. Freedom duLac reported in the Washington Post that the plaque had disappeared in the 1960s.
In November 2011, W. B. Carter, of the George Washington University Law School, published the results of her year-and-a-half-long investigation into the Oscar's fate. Carter rejected claims that students had stolen the Oscar (and thrown it in the Potomac River) as wild speculation or fabrication that traded on long-perpetuated stereotypes of blacks. She questioned the sourcing of the Huffington Post stories. Instead, she argued that the Oscar was likely returned to Howard University's Channing Pollack Theater Collection between the spring of 1971 and the summer of 1973 or had possibly been boxed and stored in the drama department at that time. The reason for its removal, she argued, was not civil rights unrest but rather efforts to make room for a new generation of black performers. If neither the Oscar nor any paper trail of its ultimate destiny can be found at Howard today, she suggested, inadequate storage or record-keeping in a time of financial constraints and national turbulence may be blamed. She also suggested that a new generation of caretakers may have failed to realize the historic significance of the 5 1/2" x 6" plaque.
'I'd rather make $700 a week playing a maid than working as one': How the FIRST black Oscar winner dealt with being segregated from white Gone with the Wind co-stars at Academy Awards
1.Hattie McDaniel was first African American to win an Oscar when she took home a trophy for Best Supporting Actress at the 12th Academy Awards
2. McDaniel played Scarlett O'Hara's eye-rolling maid in Gone With The Wind
3. She was not even allowed to attend the premier of the movie
4. Movie executives had to beg for her to get into Ambassador Hotel ceremony and still she was sat at table in back of ballroom
5. Even in death she faced racism as Hollywood Cemetery denied her final wish to be buried there
6. McDaniel's Oscar trophy vanished from Howard University, which was left to the school in her will
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3462821/I-d-make-700-week-playing-maid-working-one-Hattie-McDaniel-black-Oscar-winner-Mammy-Gone-Wind-segregated-Clark-Gable-white-actors-Academy-Awards-ceremony.html#ixzz4r5CME57I
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