Yes..."They call me, Mister Tibbs!" said by Sidney Poitier as Detective Virgil Tibbs is the most famous line from IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT. But that line from Schallert as the town mayor...man, that is deep. And scary. Keep in mind that Poitier, who won his Oscar for 1963's LILIES OF THE FIELD, was a steely Civil Rights activist. He and friend Harry Belafonte had been harassed by racists down South. Poitier was reluctant to accept a film project that shot down South, but he did. Jewison had to work out accommodations for Poitier because of racial discrimination in the deluxe hotels.
Look at the span of years in between the story lines of BAND OF ANGELS and IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT. A little over100 years and the same awful racial attitudes exist. In both films, there are people who want it known that "Black Lives Matter." In both films, there's a black man who disrupts bigoted white male attitudes when it's realized that he's educated.
Earlier this year, the 50th anniversary of IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT was celebrated with a special screening at the annual TCM Film Festival in Hollywood. Sidney Poitier made a rare special appearance. Director Norman Jewison was also present.