Sidney Poitier, the first black man to win an Academy Award, died at the age of 94, after being terrorized by the Ku Klux Klan.
As the first black man to win an Academy Award for Best Actor, he “epitomized dignity and grace,” according to Barack Obama.
Sir Sidney Poitier, who died at the age of 94, not only paved the way for other African-American celebrities, but also helped to break down social barriers.
He had no idea of the racial turmoil in the outside world as he grew up on the tiny island of Cay in the Bahamas in the 1920s.
“On our island, there were two whites,” he remembered.
One was a doctor, while the other was the daughter of a shopkeeper.
And the idea that they were anything other than people never occurred to me.”
His parents, Evelyn and Reginald, were tomato farmers who didn’t have running water or electricity.
Sidney was born in Miami, Florida, on February 20, 1927, where his parents had gone to deliver their produce, thereby granting him US citizenship.
So, after dropping out of school at the age of 12 to help his family’s business, he was sent to live with a brother in Miami three years later, with just over £2 in his pocket.
“What I didn’t expect was the racial makeup,” he once said.
I quickly learned that there were some places I couldn’t go.”
Sidney moved to New York after several brushes with the Ku Klux Klan, where he got a job washing dishes.
He saw an advertisement for actors for the American Negro Theater in the city’s Harlem district and went for an audition.
Before the director yelled, “Stop wasting your time — get a job as a dishwasher!” he read through the lines of a script in a shaky Caribbean accent.
“What humiliated me as I walked to the bus was the suggestion that all he saw in me was a dishwasher,” Sidney explained.
I was so pissed off that I declared, ‘I’m going to be an actor, whatever that means.'”
Sidney finally got a job at the theatre in exchange for acting lessons, and his big break came when Harry Belafonte was cast in the lead role and couldn’t make it, so Sidney stepped in.
He was cast in the ancient Greek play Lysistrata after a Broadway producer was impressed by his talent.
In the 1950 crime drama No Way Out, he played a hospital doctor who treats a racist bigot.
The suggestion that all he could see in me was a dishwasher humiliated me as I walked to the bus stop.
I was so pissed that I declared, ‘I’m going to be an actor, whatever that means.’
There were few opportunities for black actors in 1950s America due to segregation, but Sidney refused to compromise his…
Infosurhoy’s most recent news in a nutshell.