President’s Lecture Series Celebrates Black History Month
The Oscars and a Hidden History: Hollywood Legend Hattie McDaniel
By Marie Jacinto
As part of its observance of Black History Month, the University of Houston-Downtown is offering a new perspective on the upcoming Academy Awards: A President’s Lecture with the author of “The Queen of Sugar Hill: A Novel of Hattie McDaniel," the first African American to win an Academy Award.
UHD is featuring best-selling author and journalist ReShonda Tate as she talks about her most- recent novel, a fascinating fictional portrait of Hattie McDaniel. Entitled “The Oscars and a Hidden History: Hollywood Legend Hattie McDaniel,” this lecture takes place at 1 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 20, in the TDECU Tour Room in the Welcome Center of UHD. A book signing and reception will follow the presentation. RSVP here.
A native Houstonian and author of 53 books, Tate researched the life of Hattie McDaniel for three years for her novel, which was recently spotlighted on the Today Show.
McDaniel received the 1939 Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her unforgettable performance in the role of Mammy in the film classic “Gone With the Wind.” She started her career as a vocalist and songwriter, which led to recordings between 1926 and 1929. A radio performer and television personality, she was the first Black woman to sing on radio in the United States. Although she appeared in more than 300 films, she received on-screen credits for only 83, which include such major films as “Alice Adams, “In This Our Life,” “Since You Went Away,” and “Song of the South.” She also has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
During “The Oscars and a Hidden History: Hollywood Legend Hattie McDaniel,” Tate will explain how winning the gold statue doesn’t always lead to a golden life. McDaniel was one of Hollywood’s most prolific but woefully underappreciated stars. She thought her life would dramatically change for the better after winning the Oscar—Tate will share how it did not during this glimpse into one of Hollywood’s original trailblazers and great stars.
The University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) is the second-largest university in Houston and has served the educational needs of the nation’s fourth-largest city since 1974. As one of four distinct public universities in the University of Houston System, UHD is a comprehensive, four-year university led by President Loren J. Blanchard. Annually, UHD educates approximately 14,000 students, boasts more than 66,000 alumni, and offers 45 bachelor’s degrees, 12 master’s degrees, and 19 online programs within four colleges: Marilyn Davies College of Business, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, College of Public Service, and College of Sciences and Technology. UHD has one of the lowest tuition rates in Texas.
U.S. News and World Report ranked UHD among the nation’s Best Online Bachelor’s Programs for Applied Administration and Best Online Master’s Programs in Criminal Justice, as well as a Top Performer in Social Mobility. The Wall Street Journal/College Pulse ranked UHD one of the best colleges in the U.S. for its 2024 rankings, with notable distinctions: No. 1 for diversity (tied) and No. 3 for student experience. The University is designated as a Hispanic-Serving Institution, a Minority-Serving Institution, and a Military Friendly School. For more information on the University of Houston-Downtown, visit uhd.edu.