Passing the Torch: Hattie McDaniel and Kerry Washington

Hattie McDaniel and Kerry Washington are two performers who have broken the glass ceiling and overcome obstacles to achieve a level of fame that most people only dream of.

The first African American woman to win an Oscar, McDaniel was awarded Best Supporting Actress for her role as Mammy in “Gone with the Wind.” She began performing at a young age, and when she was still in high school, McDaniel dropped out so she could join her father’s show. Her first big break happened when she worked her way up from bathroom attendant to nightly act at Club Madrid. It wasn’t until 1931 that she made the move to Hollywood in an effort to further her career. Appearing in more than 300 films, the actress also partook in philanthropic endeavors, donating to causes such as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

Kerry Washington is another big name in Hollywood, her most notable role being Olivia Pope in the award-winning series “Scandal.”

The award-winning actress has appeared in films such as “Ray” and Quentin Tarantino’s “Django Unchained.” Featured in TIME magazine’s 100 most influential people, Washington is considered one of the best actresses of this generation. Washington is more than just an actress, she is an activist as well. She supports several causes including the Creative Coalition and V-Day, which is an organization to end violence against women. She even helped campaign for Barack Obama.

McDaniel and Washington have changed the face of film and secured their legacies as two of Hollywood’s greats.