Film legend Sidney Poitier has been presented with America's highest civilian honour, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, by President Barack Obama.
An audience at the White House was told the actor had "left an indelible mark on American culture" and "advanced the nation's dialogue on race and respect".
Poitier, 82, displayed characteristic stoicism as President Obama hung the blue-ribboned medal around his neck.
The Oscar-winner stared ahead, betraying just a hint of a smile.
Other recipients of the medal this year, included scientist Stephen Hawking, tennis legend Billie Jean King and South African cleric Archbishop Desmond Tutu.
Poitier was the first black actor to win an Oscar for a leading role, in 1963's Lilies of the Field.
He has appeared in more than 40 films since 1949, including classics such as Blackboard Jungle, In The Heat Of The Night and Guess Who's Coming to Dinner.
Born in Miami, Florida in 1927, he was raised in the Bahamas and served the US Army in World War II as a medical assistant.
After the war, he moved to New York and became an actor, receiving plaudits for his first stage role in an all-black production of Lysistrata.
His first film was 1950's No Way Out, in which he starred alongside Richard Widmark.
In later years, Poitier directed films like Stir Crazy and Ghost Dad
But his big breakthrough came five years later in The Blackboard Jungle.
His roles represented a big move away from the stereotypical dim-witted black characters played by Stepin Fetchit in the 1940s and 1950s, and often dealt with issues of racial tension.
Poitier became a household name after being nominated for a best actor Oscar for 1958's The Defiant Ones.
Five years later, he won the Academy Award for Lilies of the Field, which cemented his position as the leading black actor in Hollywood.
"It has been a long journey to this moment," the actor said after he was presented with the prized statuette by actress Anne Bancroft.
A statement from the White House said : "In front of black and white audiences struggling to right the nation's moral compass, Sidney Poitier brought us the common tragedy of racism, the inspiring possibility of reconciliation, and the simple joys of everyday life.
"Ultimately, the man would mirror the character, and both would advance the nation's dialogue on race and respect."