Hundreds gathered recently at the Friends of the California African American Museum (CAAM) eighth annual black-tie fundraiser where legendary actor Sidney Poitier and United States Gracie Fellow for Visual Arts winner John Outterbridge were feted with Lifetime Achievement awards. "An Artful Evening at CAAM" saluted Poitier and Outterbridge, while also helped in the fundraising campaign for CAAM's outreach missions -- Mentoring Generations Program, the Young Docent High School Intern Program, and the Busses and Docents Program.
"An Artful Evening at CAAM breathes life into all that we do. We burst with pride when we see how the proceeds flow through our Mentoring Generations Program to sustain paid employment training through our high school Young Docents program; and, how transportation is made available through Buses & Docents for schools and community groups that otherwise could not afford a field trip to CAAM," noted Charmaine Jefferson, Executive Director of CAAM. "Everyone will feel a special connection as we join to lift forward the next generation while earnestly saluting two incredible contributors to American culture and justice," Jefferson continued.
On hand for Poitier's acceptance were actors CCH Pounder, Jackee Harry, Omarosa Manigault, and Larenz Tate, along with Poitier's long-time friend (and once, paramour) Diahann Carroll. Carroll, 77, starred opposite Poitier in Martin Ritt's 1961 film Paris Blues. Poitier, 85, was the first African-American to win an Academy Award, and has starred in such classic films as Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, In the Heat of the Night, and To Sir, with Love.
"The body of work produced by both Sidney Poitier and John Outterbridge is phenomenal. That CAAM would honor them for a lifetime of achievement is also a testament to the organization for being able to recognize the forebears and legends upon whose shoulders we so graciously climb," historian Francis Croft said. "Our lives, individually and collectively have been positively impacted by their works."
"An Artful Evening at CAAM allows us the privilege of being able to honor Mr. Poitier and Mr. Outterbridge as individuals who have truly made a difference in the African American community. The night will be extraordinary, and we welcome this opportunity to encourage all committed corporate sponsors and passionately caring individuals to purchase tickets now and share the evening with a diverse range of celebrants," remarked Susan Cole Hill, President of Friends Foundation.
Previous recipients include iconic boxer Muhammad Ali and jazz musician Herbie Hancock.