Sidney Poitier's Photo

Sidney Poitier
(1927 - )

“I came close to self-destruction on any number of occasions.  I unquestionably had to be lucky, since any struggle for survival was no more than a patchwork of trial-and-error.  And I’ve got to tell you, there was a satisfaction, a pleasure – no, a thrill – in whatever successes happened as a result of dancing close to the flame and beating the odds.  In just being lucky.

     Telling myself I would probably lose took the edge off being afraid to lose.  ‘Prepare  for the worst; hope for the best.’  I did that a lot. That was the credo that enabled me to get from crisis to crisis.”     

The Measure Of A Man. A Spiritual Autobiography

arthur ashe

Arthur Ashe
(1943 - 1993 )

“I end, Camera, as I began, with family.  In nearly every civilization of which I have heard, the family is the central social unit, the base and foundation of the culture.  You are a member of the eleventh identifiable generation of a family on my side and the fourth generation on your mother’s side. We have tried to prepare you as best we can to lead as happy and  productive life as possible.  Along  the way you will stumble, and perhaps even fall, but that, too, is normal and to be expected.  Get up, get back on your feet, chastened but wiser, and continue on down the road.”

Days of Grace.  A Memoir

Welcome to the web site of Eugenio María de Hostos Community College’s Book-of-the Semester Project.  You are invited to embark upon a reading journey of great significance.  This year, as we consider a theme that warrants our closest attention – ON ACHIEVING SUCCESS IN LIFE – we will read two awe-inspiring memoirs:  The Measure of a Man.  A Spiritual Autobiography by Sidney Poitier (Fall Semester) and Days of Grace.  A Memoir by Arthur Ashe (Spring Semester).  Both these African-American authors encountered racial prejudice and rose above it to become prominent members of the human family.  Despite great odds, they both became “firsts” in their respective fields.  Sidney Poitier, who became the first leading African-American male actor in Hollywood films, was awarded the Oscar for Best Actor for his performance in Lilies of the Field (1964).  Arthur Ashe, who also competed in a field that was traditionally “lily-white,” became the first African-American tennis player to win not only Wimbledon (1975) but to be the number-one ranking tennis player in the world for a long period of time.  Reading these two autobiographies will definitely have a positive effect on you!

Please try as much as possible throughout the year to participate in the activities that have been planned to make these two reading experiences all the more meaningful to you. 

Go to “Calendar of Events” to see the schedule of activities.

For guidance in reading Poitier’s memoir, go to “Study Guide for The Measure of a Man.  A Spiritual Autobiography.”

For guidance in reading Ashe’s memoir, go to “Study Guide for Days of Grace.  A Memoir.”

To participate in a conversation forum with faculty, staff and students, go to “Discussion Board.”

For background information on both Poitier and Ashe, go to “The Authors”.