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Black History Month – Harry Belafonte

February 23, 2024

Harry Belafonte, born on March 1, 1927, in Harlem, New York, was an iconic figure in the entertainment world but was also a dynamic force in the civil rights movement.


Recognized as a versatile performer, he was a celebrated singer, actor, and producer whose impact extended far beyond the stage and screen. Belafonte’s career began in the 1940s, but it was in the 1950s and 1960s that he reached the height of his fame, becoming the first African-American to win an Emmy Award for his television special, “Tonight with Belafonte.”

Beyond his artistic accomplishments, Belafonte distinguished himself as a tireless advocate for civil rights. He was a close confidant of Martin Luther King Jr., providing both financial and moral support to the Civil Rights Movement. Belafonte’s commitment to social justice extended to his music, with songs like “Banana Boat Song” and “We Are the World,” which carry messages of unity and resilience. Belafonte also supported organizations like the NAACP and devoted himself to addressing global issues, such as apartheid in South Africa.

Belafonte was the first recipient of the Nelson Mandela Courage Award and was honored at the White House with the 1994 National Medal of Arts by President Clinton for his contributions to our nation’s cultural life.¬†Harry Belafonte’s enduring legacy stems from his ability to seamlessly blend entertainment with activism. His multifaceted career, marked by talent and social consciousness, continues to inspire generations to strive for justice and equality.

Music credits:

“Tiki Bar Mixer” Kevin MacLeod (
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