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Do You Know These African-American Pioneers?

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Hattie McDaniel (1895-1952)

Hattie McDaniel was the first African-American performer to win an Oscar. She won the award for Best Supporting Actress for her role as Mammy in Gone with the Wind (1939).

In other major acting categories, Sydney Poitier was the first black performer to win the award for Best Actor (for Lilies of the Field, 1963), while Louis Gossett Jr. was the first to win Best Supporting Actor (for An Officer and a Gentleman, 1982). The first African-American performer to win Best Actress was Halle Berry, for her role in 2001's Monster's Ball.

Next: Vivien Thomas (1910-1985)

More on: Black History Month


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