The famed blues, jazz and gospel vocalist (1896-1977) made her movie debut in the 1929 musical "On With the Show!" She became the second African American to earn an Oscar nomination, for her supporting role in the 1949 drama "Pinky."
The first African American (1895-1952) to win an Academy Award, for her supporting role as Mammy in 1939's "Gone with the Wind." When the NAACP complained in the 1940s about her playing servant roles, she said, "I'd rather play a maid and make $700 a week then be one for $7."
The beautiful singer and actress (1922-65) began her career as a child, performed as a singer at the Cotton Club and Apollo Theatre and was the first African American to earn an Oscar nomination for lead actress, for 1954's "Carmen Jones."