Young Meta Berger of Milwaukee
Born on February 23, 1873 in Milwaukee, Meta Schlichting was educated at the Wisconsin State Normal School (now the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee). Meta taught primary school after graduating. She was forced to resign when she married Victor Berger in 1897 due to rules that required female teachers to be single.

Meta Berger, Educator and Politician   1873-1944
Milwaukee's Meta Berger with fancy hat
Meta was elected to the Milwaukee School Board in 1909, and as a school board member, she supported progressive measures such as the construction of playgrounds, "penny lunches," and medical exams for children. Ms. Berger also advocated on behalf of teachers for tenure, a pension system, and a fixed salary schedule. She was re-elected again and again, serving a total of 30 years on the board. Meta's work for the school board led to her appointments to the Wisconsin State Board of Education, the Wisconsin Board of Regents of Normal Schools and the University of Wisconsin Board of Regents.

Meta Berger and Wisconsin Governor Heil in 1941
After the death of her husband, Victor, in 1929, Meta was selected to fill his seat on the Socialist Party's National Executive Committee, a position given to few women. She resigned from the Socialist Party in 1940 and spent her remaining years on her farm in Thiensville where she died on June 16, 1944. Meta was a daughter of German immigrants who became a prominent and outspoken activist and politician at a time when women's roles and place were hotly contested.

"We never obtained Suffrage until we made a row about it." 
- Meta Berger
 
 
Hattie McDaniel on CBS radio
Actress Hattie McDaniel was born on June 10, 1895 in Wichita, Kansas to a family of entertainers. She was the 13th child of a banjo-playing Baptist minister and gospel singing mother. While attending high school in Denver, Colorado, her singing abilities brought her work in minstrel shows and eventually found her performing with a vaudeville troupe for five years.

Hattie McDaniel, Singer and Actress   1895-1952
Hattie McDaniel and James Cagney in 1943 film
In 1925, Hattie was invited to perform on Denver's radio station which gave her the distinction of being the first African American woman to sing on the radio in the U.S. Ms. McDaniel continued the vaudeville circuit and landed in Milwaukee when the slow down of the Great Depression occurred. She was working as a ladies' room attendant at Sam Pick's when she audition with the song, "St. Louis Blues." In 1929, McDaniel found a steady job as a vocalist at the club and never went back to the maid job. Two years later, Hattie moved to Los Angeles after hearing about work available there on the radio. While she was able to pick up some radio work, at times she had to supplement her income by working at odd jobs.

Hattie McDaniel accepting her Oscar Award
In 1931, she landed her first film role as an extra in a Hollywood musical. Hattie's first major on-screen break came in 1934 singing a duet with Will Rogers in Judge Priest. The following year Ms. McDaniel landed a role opposite Shirley Temple in The Little Colonel. This part brought her to the attention of major Hollywood directors and a stead stream of offers followed. The highlight of her entertainment career came in 1939 with Hattie playing the role of Mammy, the house servant in Gone with the Wind. This role won her the first Oscar ever given to an African American in 1940. Hattie McDaniel unfortunately lost a battle to breast cancer after starting a new career in television as a maid on The Beulah Show. She died on October 26, 1952.

"I sincerely hope I shall always be a credit to my race and to the motion picture industry." 
- Hattie McDaniel, During Her Oscar Acceptance Speech