Movie images of black males, when I was growing up as a young child, were unflattering at best and humumilating at worst. People like Stepin Fetchit, Eddie Rochester. Characters like Amos and Andy and a compilation of subservient butler’s, chauffeurs and cooks. Men with artificial smiles and bucked eyes. Slaves in movies like, Huckleberry Finn.
My role models had to be John Wayne, Gary Cooper, Burt Lancaster and the like, in order to get some idea, what a strong male character was like.
Then came the movie “Lillies of the Field’ staring Sir Sidney Poitier.
A strong, independent, intelligent black man. Coming to the rescue of “damsels in distress”. Determined, with great odds, against him, to complete, a noble task.
The neighborhood theater, The Manchester Theater, in Los Angeles was about 2 blocks from my home. I saw Lillies of the Field, 10 times at least.
Because I needed to study, how a positive black role model behaved. A standard I set for myself personally. I had seen The Defiant Ones. The problem there, as poweful as Poitier’s character was, he was still a convict.
I also got a lesson from him on what “class” meant.
I thank you Sir Sidney Poitier, on behalf of all babyboomer, black males. For showing us, we didn’t have to Express ourselves through subservient buffoonery behavior to be accepted by Society. Rest in peace Knight.


Published by marblesmind

Freelance journalist, Studied journalism at LACC. Former Member of Los Angeles Press Club. 1975. 6 year Navy Vet, during Vietnam. Last 3 years Naval Intelligence unit.

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