While Nina Mae McKinney is considered the first Black Leading Lady of Hollywood, Evelyn Preer is considered the "First [Black] Lady of the Screen"--period.
She worked mainly in Oscar Micheaux films and is probably best remembered for her role as Sylvia Landry in the great Micheaux film, Within Our Gates (1920).
Mrs. Preer had a hard time finding work in Hollywood and on Broadway because she was considered "too light" to play black women.
Evelyn Preer was also a blues singer!
Listen to her song below; titled "It Takes a Good Woman to Keep a Good Man at Home".