The Measure of a Man/Sidney Poitier

I have always respected Sidney Poitier. Even before I learned of his humble beginnings in this country as a dishwasher, he always appeared to symbolize the strength and dignity that all too often eludes roles written for black actors. I had hoped that reading this book would give me insight into the character of the actor that I respected so much.
The book begins with his childhood in the Bahamas and the great adventures he had there as a little boy growing up in nature. Sometimes I wish that my kids had those kinds of surroundings where they could explore and not be limited by anything except for the bounds of their imaginations.
I think that the part of the book that resonated the most with me was where he discussed his life in America and the fact that because he had come of age in caribbean society, he had no concept of his place in Jim Crow America. It is really sad to say, but growing up in Louisiana, I felt the same thing. I didn’t feel that my color limited my intellect, my possibilities in life, any of that stuff, but a lot of my classmates did. As late as 1990, the white kids at my high school sat on one side of the gym and the black kids sat on the other. The white kids sat on the clean side and the black kids sat on the raggedy and dirty side. Well, except for me and maybe two or three of my friends.
He refused to sign loyalty oaths that would have meant that he would have had to disown friends like Paul Robeson. Even when it meant that he would have to wash dishes instead of accepting roles. He said that his reason for doing so was that he strived to be the kind of person that his dad was, to have that kind of integrity. Many of his other friends like Harry Belafonte and Charley Blackwell make appearances in the book. There seemed to be points of the book where the reading went slower than with others. I dont know if this was the result of me having read extensively about Poitier, or if it just got wordy in spots.
If you’re a Poitier fan who doesnt know much about the man or his life, I would suggest the book. Maybe I have read too much about him to really appreciate this book.

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