APRIL 13, 1964

Sidney Poitier became the first Black actor to win an Academy Award for Best Actor for his role in the movie, “Lilies of the Field”. Within three years, he was Hollywood’s top box office draw. 

In 1999, the American Film Institute named him one of the Greatest Male Stars of all time. In addition to acting, Poitier went on to direct movies, serve as an ambassador and pen a memoir. 

“By having very little, I had it good,” he wrote. “Children need a sense of pulling their own weight, of contributing to the family in some way, and some sense of the family’s interdependence. They take pride in knowing that they’re contributing. They learn responsibility and discipline through meaningful work. The values developed within a family that operates on those principles then extend to the society at large. By not being quite so indulged and ‘protected’ from reality by overflowing abundance, children see the bonds that connect them to others.” 

In 2001, he received an honorary Oscar, and eight years later, President Barack Obama awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor. He died in 2022.

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The stories of investigative reporter Jerry Mitchell have helped put four Klansmen and a serial killer behind bars. His stories have also helped free two people from death row, exposed injustices and corruption, prompting investigations and reforms as well as the firings of boards and officials. He is a Pulitzer Prize finalist, a longtime member of Investigative Reporters & Editors, and a winner of more than 30 other national awards, including a $500,000 MacArthur “genius” grant. After working for three decades for the statewide Clarion-Ledger, Mitchell left in 2019 and founded the Mississippi Center for Investigative Reporting.