Grandson of Sidney Poitier reflects on actor’s impact on metro Atlanta

It’s a day of heartache but also great pride for Etienne Poitier Gouraige.

“You realize that not everybody can be a permanent cast member,” Gouraige said.

Gouraige talked with Channel 2′s Justin Wilfon just hours after he lost his grandfather — Hollywood legend, Sidney Poitier.

“His legacy should be that perseverance and hard work gets you to wherever you want to be,” Gouraige said.

Gouraige lives in Metro Atlanta.

He told us one of his best memories of his grandfather was the day Sidney delivered the commencement address in 2014 at Etienne’s school, the Cumberland Academy of Georgia in Sandy Springs.


“Put a tear down my eye, it was definitely something else,” Gouraige said.

Gouraige’s mother, Gina Patrice Poitier-Gouraige, also worked at the school for several years.

Because of that, the school’s founder says Poitier developed a relationship with the school and meant so much to the students.

“As you will always hear me to talk to our students. Do you know who the first African American man was to win an Academy Award? I’m constantly professing look this man up. Look at what he did,” said Debbi Scarborough, the school’s founder.

Poitier went all the way from humble beginnings to breaking the color barrier in Hollywood, paving the way for an entire generation.

“That literally was an impossible feat at the time. It just didn’t happen,” his grandson said. “And he made that happen with hard work and determination. That should be the legacy that he leaves behind.”