On Stage and Off

Theater in Georgia

Gone With the Wind

On December 15, 1939, thousands gathered outside the Loew’s Grand Theatre in Atlanta to watch the stars of Gone With the Wind enter the film’s world premiere. Based on Margaret Mitchell’s Pulitzer Prize–winning novel, the film received international acclaim, setting new standards in cinematography and becoming one of the most commercially successful films in history. Despite its artistic and commercial successes, the film was marked by the prejudices of the American South, depicting racist representations of Black Americans. What’s more, Black cast members, including Augusta native Butterfly McQueen, were not invited to the premiere due to Georgia’s segregation laws. Black audiences had to wait four additional months following the premiere to see the movie, and Hattie McDaniel—who won an Academy Award for her role, becoming the first Black actor to win an Oscar—was not included in the film's promotional material.