Hattie Mcdaniel was the fist African American to win an Oscar in 1940, for her role as Mammy in Gone With The Wind. Then 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.
Sir Sidney Poitier, KBE, is a Bahamian-American actor, film director, author and diplomat. In 1964, Poitier became the first Bahamian and first African-American to win an Academy Award for Best Actor, for his role in Lilies of the Field. He paves the way for black actors like Denzel Washington, Will Smith, and Lawrence Fishburne.
Oscar Devereaux Micheaux was an African American author, film director and independent producer of more than 44 films.
Commercial movies started screening across America in 1896 shortly after the Supreme Court sanctioned racism in the Separate, But Equal ruling. Movies were the principal medium to communicate news, social customs and visual entertainment to millions of Americans each week. From 1918 onwards, his 44 films were loved by black audiences, without seeking white approval. Given the low earning power of black folks at the time however, he could not earn big bucks like his white counterparts. With a wealthier African-American market like Tyler Perry enjoys today, he could have built a strong movie studio that sustained Hollywood acting, writing and directing talent.