Did you know that Hattie McDaniel was the first African American woman to ever be nominated for an Academy award?
She was not even allowed to attend her own movie’s premiere. The movie, in case you are unfamiliar, was 1939’s Gone with the Wind.
Her career began with radio in which she played a maid who went by “Hi-Hat Hattie.” The radio serial was called “The Optimistic Do-nut Hour.” She was paid so little for her role (especially in proportion to her white counterparts) that she had to work as a real maid off to the side in order to make enough money to live.
She also got criticism from different groups such as the NAACP, who felt she, like other black actors at the time, were only perpetuating stereotypes of African Americans. She decidedly kept working as she did saying, “I’d rather play a maid for $700 a week than be one for $7.”