In 1940, "Gone with the Wind" was honored with eight Oscars by the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. An epic Southern romance set during the hard times of the Civil War, the movie swept the prestigious Best Picture, Director, Screenplay, Cinematography, Art Direction, Film Editing and Actress categories. However, the most momentous award that night undoubtedly went to Hattie McDaniel for her portrayal of “Mammy,” a housemaid and former slave. McDaniel, who won the Best Supporting Actress Academy Award, was the first African American movie performer ever to be honored with an Oscar.

Hattie McDaniel was born on June 10, 1893, in Wichita, Kansas. In 1920's, she became one of the first African-American women on the radio. In 1934, she landed her on-screen break in the film "Judge Priest". She then became the first African American to win an Oscar in 1940. In 1947, after her career took a downturn, she starred on CBS radio's "The Beulah Show". She died on October 26, 1952, in Los Angeles, California.

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