The Islands of The Bahamas are kicking off a year long celebration this weekend in honor of their 40th Anniversary of Independence
The Paradise Island Bridge will be renamed the Sir Sidney Poitier Bridge
Although Poitier does not go by title of "Sir", he was appointed a Knight Commander of the British Empire in 1974, which entitles him to use the title. He has also served as Bahamian ambassador to Japan, and to the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.
Sidney Poitier was born to Bahamian parents while they made a trip to Florida. In 1927 Poitier's parents made a trip from Cat Island to Miami in order to sell their farm produce, and Sidney was born during the trip in Florida. After his birth the family returned to their home in the Bahamas, and in the early 1940's they sent Sidney to live with relatives in Florida.
In 1963, Poitier became the first black actor to win an Academy Award, and he went on to star in numerous films, along with directing several films in his later career.
The bridge re-naming ceremony takes place with a plaque unveiling ceremony at Betty Cole Park November 2nd at 10:30 a.m. on Friday. Students from Cat Island will be attending the ceremony, and get the opportunity to meet Sir Sidney.
Later that evening there will be free concert and fireworks starting at 7:30 p.m. at Old Chalks Launch Site with performances by Ronnie Butler, Puzzle, The Region Bells, The Rahming Brothers, Angelique Sabrina, Baha Men, and Bebe Winans & The All Star Bahamian Choir.
Atlantis Resorts is hosting a gala concert on November 3rd to benefit the proposed Sir Sidney Poitier Center for the Performing Arts. Jennifer Hudson will perform at this special concert, and pay tribute to Sir Sidney.
Visit Atlantis Resort site for more info on the weekend of celebration and inspiration