Nevertheless, she had to audition for the role with which most people associate her, that of “Mammy” in Gone with the Wind. She arrived at her audition dressed for the role, and won the part over many other actresses despite her past experiences in mostly comedic parts. Her fine performance as “Mammy” led to a nomination for an Academy Award—a first for an African American performer. More so historic was her win that year for Best Supporting Actress.
|As "Mammy": Turner Entertainment|
Hattie McDaniel didn’t stand for the oppression around her. In 1945 she organized other African American residents of their posh Hollywood neighborhood to fight an injunction that dictated that homeowners could only be white. They won their battle and set a precedent that would be the groundwork for other such fights.
Hattie McDaniel died in 1952 after a long, celebrated career. Her last wish was to be buried in Hollywood Cemetery. The owner, however, refused to have a person of color buried in his cemetery. In 1999, the cemetery (newly renamed Hollywood Forever) wanted to correct this injustice as best they could. A large monument was erected in McDaniel’s honor. A fitting tribute to a remarkable person—if not fifty years too late.