A few Black actresses from 1900s-1980s. Some have shaken the foundation of Old Hollywood, and others have carved out a place in contemporary films.
“I never felt the chance to rise above the role of a maid in Hollywood movies. My color was against me. The fact that I was not ‘hot’ stamped me as either an uppity 'Negress’ or relegated me to the eternal role of stooge or servant. I can sing but so can hundreds of other girls. My ambitions are to be an actress. Hollywood had no parts for me.” Theresa Harris +
“You cannot leave this show! Do you not understand what you are doing?! You are the first non-stereotypical role in television! Of intelligence, and of a woman and a woman of color?! That you are playing a role that is not about your color! That this role could be played by anyone? This is not a black role. This is not a female role! A blue eyed blond or a pointed ear green person could take this role!”. MLK to Nichelle Nichols, who was planning on leaving Star Trek +
“I have never tried to pass for white and never had any desire. I am proud of my race. In Imitation of Life. I was showing how a girl might feel under the circumstances but I am not showing how I felt. I was slightly uncomfortable while making the scene where I stood before the mirror asking, “Am I not white?” No person who strives to be the least bit intelligent should allow a thing like color, something for which none of us is responsible, to mar his life or influence his judgment.” Fredi Washington +
Calvin Lockhart (1934-2007) and Vonetta McGee (1945-2010) in a scene from their 1972 film, “Melinda.” Ms. McGee played the mysterious “Melinda” and Mr. Lockhart played a popular DJ named “Frankie Parker” (that name no doubt inspired by the legendary DJ Frankie Crocker) who finds himself drawn into solving a murder mystery.