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Black Oscars: From Mammy to Minny, What the Academy Awards Tell Us About African Americans

Written by Frederick Gooding Jr.

A timely exploration of Oscar-nominated Black actors and the complicated legacy of the Academy Awards. In Black From Mammy to Minny, What the Academy Awards Tell Us about African Americans, Frederick W. Gooding Jr. draws on American, African American, and film history to reflect on how the Oscars have recognized Black actors from the award’s inception to the present. Starting in the 1920s, the chapters provide a thorough overview and analysis of Black actors nominated for their Hollywood roles during each decade, with special attention paid to the winners. Historical patterns are scrutinized to reveal racial trends and open the question of whether race relations have truly changed substantively or only superficially over time. Given the Oscars’ presence and popularity, it begs the question of what these awards reflect and reinforce about larger society. In the meticulously-researched Black Oscars, we see how the Academy Awards are an indispensable guide to understanding race in mainstream Hollywood and beyond.