Hattie McDaniel (Actress) – Petition

“Every picture and every line, it belonged to Hattie. She knew she was supposed to be subservient, but she never delivered a subservient.” 

– Mabell Collins – McDaniels’ descendant 

 

Beyond Tara: The Extraordinary Life of Hattie McDaniel

Documentary about actress Hattie McDaniel, the first African American to win an Academy Award, but often typecast as a domestic servant at a time when African Americans were growing angrier at Hollywood’s demeaning depictions of them. Narrated by Academy Award Winner Whoopi Goldberg

 

GONE WITH THE WIND

Hattie McDaniel is best remembered today for her role in the film Gone With The Wind. She won the 1939 Academy Award for best-supporting actress for her portrayal of Mammy. She was the first African-American to be nominated for, and to win, an Academy Award. Hattie got her start in show business with her family’s traveling Baptist tent show. As a teenager, Hattie performed in the touring vaudeville outfit the Spikes Brothers Comedy Stars on the West Coast. In the early 1920s, she was singing with George Morrison’s Orchestra in Denver and toured the Pantages and Orpheum vaudeville circuit with them. She made her recording debut in 1926 but never had much of a recording career, but she was a popular live act. As the Blues craze died out in the late 1920s, Hattie started appearing in theatrical productions. She was in the touring company of Showboat from 1929 to 1930. In the early 1930s, she settled in Hollywood and began her career as a film actress. She was almost always cast as a maid, cook, nanny, or servant of some sort, these being the only types of roles available for African-Americans at the time. She appeared in over seventy movies during the 1930s.”

Vivien Leigh as Scarlett and Hattie McDaniel as Mammy in the film version of Gone With the Wind. Photograph: Everett Collection/Rex

Kino. Gone with the Wind, USA, 1939, Hattie McDaniel, Vivian Leigh. (Photo by FilmPublicityArchive/United Archives via Getty Images)

(Photo by FilmPublicityArchive/United Archives via Getty Images)

(Photo by FilmPublicityArchive/United Archives via Getty Images)

Butterfly McQueen and Hattie McDaniels on the set and of Gone with the Wind.

After winning the Academy Award in 1940 she continued to be cast as the maid for the rest of her life. She famously quippedI’d rather make $700 a week playing a maid than earn $7 a day being a maid.” Despite the poor quality of her roles Hattie continued to open doors that had previously been closed to African-American performers. In 1947, she starred on the radio in The Beulah Show. In 1951, the show moved to television, and Hattie starred in the first three episodes until she discovered she had cancer and became too ill to continue working.”

Louise Beavers and Hattie McDaniel

Louise Beavers and Hattie McDaniel.

Ms. Beavers and Ms. McDaniel, two groundbreaking African American actresses who managed to have Hollywood careers in an age of seen-but-not-heard racism.

They must have competed for the same roles (cook, maid, mammy).

Louise got the more substantial roles, Hattie won the Oscar. 

Actress Louise Beavers (third from left) and Hattie McDaniel (second from right), circa 1948. Los Angeles Public Library photo collection

“When she signed to play the role of Mammy in GONE WITH THE WIND (1939), Hattie was put under personal contract to producer David O. Selznick, alongside the likes of Swedish actress Ingrid Bergman and British director Alfred Hitchcock, both recent arrivals to Hollywood. Selznick had championed the campaign to win Hattie her Academy Award and was determined to see her play roles more befitting her new status as an Oscar-winner.  The producer was soon frustrated at the lack of prestigious opportunities for his newest contract player, however.

Starring vehicles for Black actors among major studio productions at the time were virtually non-existent, and Selznick eventually conceded to allowing Hattie to return to the servant roles that had made her famous.  Through a special shared-contract arrangement between Selznick andWarner Bros., Hattie played Bette Davis’ protective housemaid in THE GREAT LIE (1941), and Olivia de Havilland’s loyal (and charmingly superstitious) southern maid Callie in THEY DIED WITH THEIR BOOTS ON (right), de Havilland’s eighth and final co-starring vehicle with Errol Flynn.  Hattie received co-star billing below the title and ample screen time in both films.”

Actors Vivien Leigh (right), Carroll Nye (left) and Hattie McDaniel (sitting behind), as Scarlett O’Hara, Frank Kennedy and Mammy respectively, are on a carriage in a scene from the movie Gone with the Wind by Victor Fleming. United States, 1939. (Photo by Mondadori via Getty Images)

Olivia de Havilland and Hattie McDaniel in a scene from the movie “Gone with the Wind” (Photo by Donaldson Collection/Getty Images)

Vivien Leigh, Olivia De Havilland and Hattie McDaniel play the roles of Scarlett O’Hara, Melanie Hamilton and Mammy respectively in a scene from the movie Gone with the Wind by Victor Fleming. United States, 1939. (Photo by Mondadori via Getty Images)

: Hattie McDaniel, Vivien Leigh, Oscar Polk. (Photo by FilmPublicityArchive/United Archives via Getty Images)

Miss Scarlett. What are we gonna to do with nothing to feed those sick folks and that child? 

Scarlett: I don't know, Mammy. I don't know. 

Mammy: We ain't got nothing but radishes in the garden. 

Prissy quote: Miss Scarlett, Miss Suellen and Miss Carreen they's fussing to be       sponged off. 
Scarlett: Where are the other servants, Mammy? 

Mammy: Miss Scarlett, there's only just me and Pork left. The others went off to the  war or runned away. 

Scarlett: I can't take care of that baby and sick folks, too. I's only got two hands.
 
Pork quote: Who's going to milk that cow, Miss Scarlett? We's houseworkers. 

Scarlett quote: As God is my witness, they're not going to lick me. I'm going to live through this, and when it's all over, I'll never be hungry again. No, nor any of my folks. If I have to lie, steal, cheat or kill . As God is my witness,                   I'll never be hungry again! 

 

(Oscar Polk)

 

PORK: “There ain’t no barn no more, Miss Scarlett. The Yankees done burned it for firewood. They used the house for their headquarters. They camped all around the place.” SCARLETT: “Yankees in Tara?!” PORK: “Yes, ma’am, and they stole most everything they didn’t burn. All the clothes and all the rugs and even Miss Ellen’s rosaries.” SCARLETT: “I’m starving, Pork. Get me something to eat.” MAMMY: “There ain’t nothing to eat, honey. They took it all. And what they didn’t eat they carried off.

 

Hattie McDaniel and Clark Gable, aka Mammy and Rhett Butler

The Atlanta premiere of Gone with the Wind was marred by the absence of Hattie McDaniel and other Black cast members, who were banned due to Georgia’s Jim Crow laws.

An angry Clark Gable was on the brink of boycotting, but his friend McDaniel reportedly persuaded him to attend. 

Gable Again Outraged By Segregation!”

Hattie McDaniel and Clark Gable, aka Mammy and Rhett Butler....The Atlanta premiere of "Gone with the Wind" was marred by the absence of Hattie McDaniel and other black cast members, who were banned due to Georgia's Jim Crow laws. An angry Clark Gable was on the brink of boycotting, but his friend McDaniel reportedly persuaded him to attend.

Gable Again Outraged By Segregation “When Clark Gable found out that Hattie McDaniel and the other Black stars of the film would not be allowed to go to Atlanta along with the white members of the cast, he hit the ceiling. Gable was already good friends with McDaniel prior to making the movie, and he angrily threatened to boycott the premiere unless she was allowed to attend. It was McDaniel herself who talked him into going. Clark Gable was a big enough star to undo segregation on a Hollywood movie lot, but segregation in the heart of Dixie was too much even for him.”

Hattie McDaniel, and Clark Gable. (Photo by FilmPublicityArchive/United Archives via Getty Images)

“When Clark Gable found out that Hattie McDaniel and the other Black stars of the film would not be allowed to go to Atlanta along with the white members of the cast, he hit the ceiling.

Gable was already good friends with McDaniel prior to making the movie, and he angrily threatened to boycott the premiere unless she was allowed to attend. It was McDaniel herself who talked him into going.

Clark Gable was a big enough star to undo segregation on a Hollywood movie lot, but segregation in the heart of Dixie was too much even for him.”

https://reelrundown.com/film-industry/Clark-Gable-Desegregates-Gone-With-The-Wind-Movie-Set?fbclid=IwAR3oviKvxJOavCytz32N-LCSdRjonR_g010PdQrL1L1tGtx06MIG25biZIk ]

 

Gone With the Wind HATTIE MCDANIEL Character Figure

Gone With the Wind HATTIE MCDANIEL Character Figure

Gone With the Wind

prequel to tell Mammy’s story

Donald McCaig novel relates the untold back story of Scarlett O’Hara’s devoted house slave.

Mammy, the slave devoted to her mistress Scarlett O’Hara in Gone With the Wind, is to be given her own back story by the author Donald McCaig, in what its publisher said was “a necessary correction” to how the black characters in Margaret Mitchell’s bestselling novel are portrayed.

Authorised by the Mitchell Estate, the novel is billed as a prequel to Gone With the Wind, and will see McCaig give Mammy both a name – Ruth – and a past. It will be published by Atria in the US in October and will, said the publisher, be “a remarkable story of fortitude, heartbreak, and indomitable will [in which McCaig] reveals a portrait of Mammy that is both nuanced and poignant, at once a proud woman and a captive, and a strict disciplinarian who has never experienced freedom herself”.

In Mitchell’s novel, the character of Mammy – which won actor Hattie McDaniel an Oscar in the film version of the book – is not fleshed out. Portrayed as a loyal and loving part of the O’Hara household, she keeps Scarlett in line in Mitchell’s painstakingly spelled out vernacular. “Ah ain’ gwine stand by an’ have eve’ybody at de pahty sayin’ how you ain’ fotched up right. Ah has tole you an’ tole you da you kin allus tell a lady by dat she eat lak a bird. An’ Ah ain’ aimin’ ter have you go ter Mist’ Wilkes’ an’eat lak a fe’el han’ an’ gobble lak a hawg.”

Peter Borland, editorial director of Atria, told the New York Times that McCaig “felt that Mammy was such a fascinating and crucial character to the book” that “he wanted to flesh out a story of her own”, adding: “What’s really remarkable about what Donald has done is that it’s a book that respects and honours its source material, but it also provides a necessary correction to what is one of the more troubling aspects of the book, which is how the black characters are portrayed.”

A previous novel, The Wind Done Gone, invented a new character – Scarlett’s half-sister and Mammy’s daughter. “I was born May 25, 1945, at half-past seven in the morning into slavery on a cotton farm a day’s ride from Atlanta. My father, Planter, was the master of the place; my mother was the Mammy. My half-sister, Other, was the belle of five counties,” wrote author Alice Randall in the novel, which was not authorised by Mitchell’s estate.

McCaig, a Civil War novelist who also expanded the story of Mitchell’s character Rhett Butler in his novel Rhett Butler’s People, will open his tale on the Caribbean island of Saint Domingue – Haiti today. “Her story began with a miracle,” he writes, telling of how an infant girl survived an attack to fall into the hands of the French émigrés, Henri and Solange Fournier, who take her to Savannah.

“What follows is the sweeping tale of Ruth’s life as shaped by her strong-willed mistress and other larger-than-life personalities she encounters in the South: Jehu Glen, a free black man with whom Ruth falls madly in love; the shabbily genteel family that first hires Ruth as Mammy; Solange’s daughter Ellen and the rough Irishman, Gerald O’Hara, whom Ellen chooses to marry; the Butler family of Charleston and their shocking connection to Mammy Ruth; and finally Scarlett O’Hara – the irrepressible Southern belle Mammy raises from birth,” said Atria. “Despite the cruelties of a world that has decreed her a slave, Mammy endures, a rock in the river of time. She loves with a ferocity that would astonish those around her if they knew it. And she holds tight even to those who have been lost in the ravages of her days.”

McCaig told the New York Times that he wanted to tell the story of Ruth because there are “three major characters in Gone With the Wind, but we only think about two of them.”

“Scarlett and Rhett are familiar, but when it comes to the third, we don’t know where she was born, if she was ever married, if she ever had children,” he said. “Indeed, we don’t even know her name.” The New York Times revealed that the first two-thirds of the book would be told in the third person, with the last third in Ruth’s own dialect.

Although McCaig drew praise for Rhett Butler’s People – the Guardian said he wrote about the civil war “with great empathy and historical authority”, adding that “you suspect McCaig isn’t terribly interested in the story of Rhett and Scarlett at all” – the news that a white man would be telling Mammy’s story drew immediate criticism.

“A 73-year-old White writer is automatically deemed capable of rendering a believable story, an epic book nonetheless, about an enslaved black woman,” responded Ronda Racha Penrice at The Grio .

She continued: “in the end, the problem isn’t whether the compelling stories of the men, women and children who endured the inhumane horror of being deemed the property of other human beings in the eyes of the law and other people’s twisted sense of morality deserve to be told. Instead, the real problem is that white people are still viewed as the utmost authority on everything their imaginations can cook up.”

© 2021 Guardian News & Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved.

 

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iforcolor

ARCHIVIST, EDUCATOR, HISTORIAN, and ARTiST
Dale Shields is a professor of theatre, director, and actor (Broadway, Off-Broadway, Off-Off-Broadway, and Regional).
Research Accomplishments:
The 2017 winner of The Kennedy Center/Stephen Sondheim Inspirational Teacher Award®, 2017 and 2015 Tony® award nominee for the Excellence in Theatre Education Award, and the winner of the 2017 AUDELCO/"VIV" Special Achievement Award. In 2020 He was also awarded The Actors Fund / Encore Award

On the web, he is the archivist and historian of Iforcolor.org and Black Theatre/African American Voices [Facebook] (theatre, music, and art). He has taught classes and workshops at SUNY Potsdam, Susquehanna University, Denison University, Randolph-Macon College, Macalester College, The College of Wooster, Ohio University, Wayne State University, and the Joseph Papp Public Theatre (New York Shakespeare Festival).

Education
B.F.A. and M.F.A. degrees from Ohio University.