- Steven J. Niven
film actress and singer, was born in Wichita, Kansas, the youngest daughter of Henry McDaniel, an itinerant preacher, carpenter, and entertainer, and Susan Holbert. The McDaniels moved to Denver, Colorado, in 1901, where Hattie enjoyed a more settled childhood than her seven older siblings had. Five other children had died in infancy. At home, at school, and at church, McDaniel sang spirituals and recited passages from the Bible. Usually she enchanted, though not always. She later recalled: “My mother would say, ‘Hattie, I'll pay you to hush,’ and she'd give me a dime. But in a few minutes I'd be singing and shouting again” (Jackson, 9). By 1910 McDaniel was already an accomplished singer and dancer, appearing in several minstrel shows in Denver. She later toured with her father and her brothers Sam and Otis in the Henry McDaniel Minstrel Show a troupe popular throughout ...
A version of this article originally appeared in African American National Biography.