We pay tribute to Sidney Poitier who passed away last week at the age of 94. Poitier's elegant baring and principled portrayals embodied the essence of Black excellence. The Oscar-winner paved the way for Black actors as a director, activist, and ambassador. Born on Feb. 20, 1927 in Miami to Bahamian parents who were vacationing in the United States, Poitier's early years were spent in the Bahamas on his father’s tomato farm on Cat Island before the family relocated to Nassau. As a teenager, Poitier returned to the U.S., where he enlisted in the U.S. Army, serving briefly in the medical unit. Eventually, he made his way to New York City where he fell in love with the performing arts. Refusing to take on roles that perpetuated racial stereotypes, Poitier earned critical acclaim for portraying strong, intelligent Black men in such classics as A Patch of BlueTo Sir, With Love, and Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner throughout the 1960s. “I felt very much as if I were representing 15, 18 million people with every move I made,” Poitier once wrote about being the only Black person on a movie set. In addition to his Academy Award, Poitier was the recipient of the Kennedy Center Honors in 1995, the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009, two Golden Globe Awards (including a lifetime achievement honor in 1982), and a Grammy for narrating his autobiography, The Measure of a Man: A Spiritual Autobiography, which was released in 2000. In this special editorial package, we pay tribute to Sidney Poitier's legacy in activism, take a look at some of his most prolific films, celebrate his love of family and reflect on words of wisdom from his 2000 memoire. Plus, 'A Praise Song for Sidney Poitier,' by Kevin Powell.


Sidney Poitier Tribute