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"Frankly, My Dear, I Don't Give a Damn." Quote From Gone With the Wind

A historic movie about the Civil War, reconstruction in the South, and the hardships because of the war.

Gone With The Wind

Gone With The Wind

Hattie McDaniel as Mammy With Scarlett

Hattie McDaniel as Mammy With Scarlett

Hattie McDaniel, First African American Woman To Win Academy Award Oscar

Hattie McDaniel was the youngest of thirteen children born to former slaves. Her father fought in the Civil War for the 122nd U.S. Colored Troops, and her mother was a gospel singer. She was born in Witchita, Kansas, in 1893.

Her story and long career in films, radio, and comedy finally led to her being cast as Mammy the maid in the award-winning movie Gone With The Wind. She had to earn the role, but Clark Gable thought she was perfect for the part, and when she showed up for her interview, she dressed as an authentic Southern maid, and she got the part. Even First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt chimed in and wanted her maid to get the part. For anyone who's seen the movie, Hattie played the role perfectly, winning her the coveted Oscar.

Hattie's life and career were full of racism and segregation. They were blatantly displayed when the film's premiere was held at the Lowes Theatre, Atlanta, Georgia, with thousands lining the streets to catch a glimpse of the stars. But, Hattie was not allowed to attend as Lowes Theatre was a "White's Only" theatre. Gable threatened to boycott if she and the Black cast weren't allowed in, but she convinced him to stand down.

A telegram was sent to Hattie from the author of Gone With The Wind, Margaret Mitchell, that read, "wish you could have heard the applause."

As if that wasn't bad enough, it seems inconceivable that at the Academy Awards Banquet to be held at the Coconut Grove nightclub in Los Angeles, Ca, again segregation was so apparent. The Grove was also "White's Only." Hattie was finally allowed under 'special circumstances' but relegated to a small table along the sidewall.

Hattie displayed real class, arriving at the banquet dressed in a turquoise gown studded with rhinestones with white gardenias in her hair. Her acceptance was precise and humble, full of thanks.

Hattie MacDaniel  Winning Her Oscar

Hattie MacDaniel Winning Her Oscar

Hattie McDaniel Career

Hattie had a long career singing, acting, and on the Radio. Her earlier films included The Little Colonel with Shirley Temple, Songs Of The South, Bobby Driscoll, and James Baskett, and I'm No Angel with Mae West.

There were many awards Hattie received, including:

  • 1939 Academy Award Oscar
  • 1965 Inducted in the Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame
  • 2006 U.S. Stamp, First Black Oscar Winner
  • 2010 Inducted in the Colorado Women's Hall Of Fame
  • Hattie has two Stars on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame, one for Radio at 6933 Hollywood Blvd, and one at 1716 Vine for film.

Hattie McDaniel Hollywood Walk Of Fame

Hattie McDaniel Hollywood Walk Of Fame

Hattie McDaniel Grave And Will

In her will, Hattie wanted to be buried in Hollywood Cemetery with white gardenias on her casket. Segregation of the cemetery and the "White's Only" rule didn't allow her to be buried there. Instead, she was buried in the Angelus Rosedale Cemetery.

Years later, with new owners of the Hollywood Cemetery taking over, her family was asked if they wanted her to be reinterred there, but they refused, not wanting to disturb her grave. Finally, however, the Hollywood Cemetery decided to erect a Cenotaph in her honor and dedicated it in 1999.

Although Hattie worked all her life and at her death, her estate was valued $10,336. But she owed the IRS $11,336. So it was necessary to sell any assets off to pay the IRS.

Angelus Rosedale Cemetery

Angelus Rosedale Cemetery

Cenotaph Hollywood Cemetery

Cenotaph Hollywood Cemetery

The Missing Oscar

When Hattie McDaniel died in 1952, she gave her Oscar to Howard University. However, somehow it is either misplaced or perhaps lost. No one seems to know where it is. Rumors suggest it was stolen during the upheaval of the Civil Rights Movement in Atlanta. Hopefully, it turns up.

After Hattie won her Oscar, it would take another fifty years before another African American woman would win one. That was when Whoopi Goldberg won hers in the Ghost. Then, in 2010, Mo'Nigue won the Best Supporting Actress for her role in Precious. Her acceptance speech credited Hattie McDaniel, who endured all the racism and segregation she went through so she didn't have to.

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