Family moved to Denver, Colorado from Kansas
Joined a local black minstrel show in Denver (date approximate)
Won gold medal at an elocution contest sponsored by the Woman's Christian Temperance Union for reciting poem "Convict Joe" (date approximate); dropped out of school and toured with minstrel shows, including one featuring members of her family (date approximate)
Joined the Melody Hounds, a musical ensemble led by George Morrison; toured USA appearing in vaudeville houses operated by the Theater Owners Booking Association (TOBA)
Made radio debut singing with Morrison's group in Denver
After TOBA went bankrupt, left stranded in Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Worked as a ladies' room attendent at Sam Pick's Suburban Inn in Milwaukee; when owner heard her sing, gave her headliner spot
Moved to L.A. to pursue acting career in films; worked as a dishwasher to support herself
Appeared on radio as 'Hi-Hat Hattie', a bossy maid who often "forgets her place"
First film appearance, "The Golden West"
Appeared alongside Marlene Dietrich in "Blonde Venus"
Played the maid to Mae West in "I'm No Angel"
Had small role in "Imitation of Life"
First garnered attention as the washerwoman Aunt Dilsey in "Judge Priest", directed by John Ford; performed duet with Will Rogers in film
Appeared in "Alice Adams" and "The Littlest Colonel"
Reprised her stage part of Queenie in film version of "Show Boat"
Had featured role in "Nothing Sacred", starring Carole Lombard and Fred MacMurray
Was briefly glimpsed as a maid in "The Women"
Cast in most famous role of Mammy in "Gone With the Wind"; barred from attending the film's premiere in Atlanta because of racial segregation in the South; became first black performer to win an Academy Award
During 1940s, criticized by NAACP for perpetuating the stereotype of a subservient domestic
Appeared in the Western "They Died with Their Boots on"
During WWII, organized entertainments for black soldiers and sailors serving in the military
Once again played a domestic in "In This Our Life", starring Bette Davis and directed by John Huston; character confronts racial issues as her law student son is wrongly accused of manslaughter
Acted in "Since You Went Away"
Co-starred in the Disney film "Song of the South"
Cast in title role of the radio comedy "Beulah"
Last film appearances, "Mickey" and "Family Honeymoon"
Starred in the CBS sitcom version of "Beulah"; only appeared in a handful of episodes before suffering a heart attack that caused her to withdraw