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With only two years of formal education in Nassau as a child, Sidney also worked to strengthen his reading skills. On his breaks from washing dishes at a Queens restaurant, Sidney found a quiet booth where he could sound out unfamiliar words from the newspaper. Soon, an older Jewish waiter at the restaurant became his tutor, and they worked on reading every night. To his regret, when Sidney tried to find that man to thank him, he couldn't find him. "I would love to have been able to thank him and explain to him the good services he had rendered to me that was essential to my success."

Education still weighs heavily on Sidney's mind. "That question bothers me a lot, the question of education. We are too rich a country to have inner city education what it is. It is each family, I believe, who has the responsibility to educate their children no matter what their own education is," Sidney says.

Dinner guest Philip volunteer teaches in the inner-city New York schools. "When I introduced the book to them, they said, 'Wow, I didn't know Sidney Poitier could barely read in the beginning,'" Philip says. "And that registered. They could connect with this because they could relate."


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