Hattie McDaniel’s Academy Award Win
On February 29, 1940, Hattie McDaniel became the first African American to win an Academy Award.
McDaniel, the youngest child of former slaves, was born in Wichita, Kansas, and raised in Denver, Colorado. She dropped out of high school to tour with vaudeville companies. When McDaniel arrived in Hollywood in 1931, she supported herself by working on radio and washing clothes.