Race Forward Honors the Life and Legacy of Harry Belafonte,
Singer, Civil Rights Activist, and Artist
April 26, 2023 — Race Forward sends condolences to and mourns with the family, friends and colleagues of Harry Belafonte on the loss of this iconic figure in American history.
Born in Harlem in 1927, Belafonte broke racial barriers in the 1950s through the power of culture and used those victories to advocate on behalf of civil, human and labor causes throughout a career that spanned six decades.
“The life and career of Harry Belafonte models the courage required of leaders committed to multiracial democracy. Even in the wake of physical harm and damage to his career he never faltered,” said Glenn Harris, president of Race Forward. “As his star rose, propelling him to international acclaim, he remained true to and fought for values guided by racial justice and equity.”
Belafonte was deeply involved in some of the Civil Rights Movement’s most critical moments. He resourced the then-emerging movement through countless fundraising campaigns. A main participant in the March on Washington, his activism led to more Black performers joining in marches and using their talent for the movement.
Later in his career, Belafonte took his activism international, joining with future-South African President Nelson Mandela to fight against apartheid.
“Belafonte will be remembered as an incredible American talent and an ardent Black civil rights and racial justice leader—one to not only be admired, but to also be emulated,” Harris added.
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