Sidney Poitier epitomized dignity. During the racial turbulence of the 1960s, he portrayed characters with middle-class values who radiated goodness.

He earned his first star billing in 1958, in “The Defiant Ones,” and six years later won the Oscar for best actor in “Lilies of the Field.” His on-screen success was rivaled only by his off-screen commitment to the civil rights movement. As Martin Luther King Jr. once remarked about Poitier, he was “a great friend of humanity.”

Biographer Aram Goudsouzian, a University of Memphis historian, captures the full life of Poitier and the racial complexities of his times.

Colonialism left in its wake a highly unequal and skewed education system. Centred on networks of missionary schools, inequalities in educational access increased the higher up the educational ladder one climbed. In particular, access to university education was extremely limited and highly distorted.

In the first two decades after independence African countries made progress in rebalancing the inherited regional inequalities. But then inequality remained stagnant or worsened as urban metropolises pulled ahead.

Rebecca Simson unpacks her research into how regional distribution still plays a major role in access to education in Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.

Howard Manly

Race + Equity Editor

Sidney Poitier – Hollywood’s first Black leading man reflected the civil rights movement on screen

Aram Goudsouzian, University of Memphis

Poitier dazzled Hollywood with on-screen grace and bankability. His dignified roles and respectable values forever changed the image of Blacks, then mostly portrayed as maids, buffoons or criminals.

How place of birth shapes chances of going to university: evidence from 7 African countries

Rebecca Simson, University of Oxford

The face of Africa’s educational high-achievers is changing.

Why kids shouldn’t eat added sugar before they turn 2, according to a nutritional epidemiologist

Lisa Bodnar, University of Pittsburgh Health Sciences

Children who are fed diets high in added sugars are more likely than children with lower sugar intakes to have a number of negative health consequences as they develop.

Great balls of fire: How heating up testicles with nanoparticles might one day be a form of male birth control

Jeffrey Mo, University of Toronto

Growing applications of nanotechnology include using nanorods for male birth control. The technique has had some success in animals, and offers the potential of human male contraception.

‘Don’t Look Up’: Hollywood’s primer on climate denial illustrates 5 myths that fuel rejection of science

Gale Sinatra, University of Southern California; Barbara K. Hofer, Middlebury

Just because something isn’t 100% certain doesn’t mean you ignore it, and other lessons from two researchers who study the problem of science denial.

South Africa has changed tack on tackling COVID: why it makes sense

Shabir A. Madhi, University of the Witwatersrand; Fareed Abdullah, South African Medical Research Council; Jonny Myers, University of Cape Town

The South African government has chosen a pragmatic approach that balances the potential direct and detrimental indirect effects of Covid.

Why does experiencing ‘flow’ feel so good? A communication scientist explains

Richard Huskey, University of California, Davis

Research shows that people with more flow in their lives had a higher sense of well-being during the COVID-19 pandemic. Scientists are beginning to explore what happens in the brain during flow.

Multiracism: why we need to pay attention to the world’s many racisms

Alastair Bonnett, Newcastle University

The west has long defined racism as a function of colonial domination and discrimination. But in a changing world this definition must be challenged.

How extremists have used the COVID pandemic to further their own ends, often with chaotic results

Kristy Campion, Charles Sturt University; Jamie Ferrill, Charles Sturt University

The pandemic has changed the nature of the national security threat to Australia: here’s what our research uncovered.

Capitol assault: the real reason Trump and the crowd almost killed US democracy

Stephen Reicher, University of St Andrews; Alex Haslam, The University of Queensland; Evangelos Ntontis, The Open University; Klara Jurstakova, Canterbury Christ Church University

What happened on January 6, 2021 was a genuine co-production between Trump and his supporters.

Why reconciliation agreement between Germany and Namibia has hit the buffers

Henning Melber, University of Pretoria

The problem is that communities who continue to be most affected by the violent past have not been involved in negotiations.