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Morgan McKenzie

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Morgan McKenzie

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On this day in Black history: First Black Oscar winner, Aretha Franklin’s Grammy streak and more

Written by on February 29, 2024

On this day in Black history, February 29:

— In 1940, Hattie McDaniel became the first Black person to win an Oscar for her role as Mammy in Gone with the Wind. She remained the only Black woman to be awarded the Best Supporting Actress until Whoopi Goldberg took home the trophy 50 years later, in 1990.

— In 1968, Juanita Hall, the first Black person to win a Tony Award, for her portrayal of Bloody Mary in South Pacific, died in Bay Shore, New York, at age 66.

— In 1968, Aretha Franklin received the first-ever Best Female R&B Vocal Performance Grammy for “Respect.” She won awards for seven consecutive years, for “Chain of Fools,” “Share Your Love with Me,” “Don’t Play That Song” and other hits. 

— Happy birthday to Augusta Savage, Reri GristJeffrey “Ja Rule” Atkins Sr., Ken ForeeJessie T. Usher and Cullen Jones.

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