94 Years Of Grace: A Look At The Life Of Sidney Poitier
Photo by Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images

Sidney Poitier used every instrument available to him to tell stories of Black excellence in his 94 years on this earth. The actor, director, philanthropist and father died on January 7 and left behind a legacy that changed the trajectory for Black actors coming up behind him forever. 

He was dashing, commanding, and graceful at a time when Black men were not expected or permitted to be. On the screen, behind the camera and in the media he worked to elevate and expand the idea of Blackness in the minds of the public.   

As a stern but empathetic educator in To Sir, With Love and a pragmatic but passionate suitor in Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner Poitier accomplished his goal with props including tailored tuxedos and starched tennis whites. He even went so far as to reject stereotypical roles at a time when work was scarce for Black performers. 

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Poitier was vulnerable about the pressure he felt to represent his race, admitting that when he arrived as the sole Black person on a set he felt the invisible tug of millions of others. He was also compassionate about other causes and donated his time to the fight against climate change and the eradication of childhood diabetes.

See select images from the inspirational life of Sidney Poitier below.

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