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Under the Spotlight: Harry Belafonte (Singer, Actor and Civil Rights Activist)

Good evening ATMS, hope everyone has been bless and not stress with everyday life. Tonight's blog will focus on the contributions from an important figure in the civil rights movement and pop culture: Mr. Harry Belafonte.

Born on March 1st, 1927, in Harlem New York City, he was an American singer, actor, and activist, who made calypso music popular with international audiences in the 1950s. In his early years, he dropped out of George Washington High School, after which he joined the U.S. Navy and served during World War II. While working as a janitor's assistant when a tenant gave him, as a gratuity, two tickets to see the American Negro Theater. He fell in love with the art form and also befriended Sidney Poitier. Belafonte's political beliefs were greatly inspired by the singer, actor, and civil rights activist Paul Robeson, who mentored him. It is said to that Harry Belafonte married politics and pop culture. Belafonte supported the civil rights movement in the 1950s and 1960s and was one of Martin Luther King Jr.'s confidants. He also provided for King's family since King earned only $8,000 ($80,000 in today's time) a year as a preacher. He contributed to the 1961 Freedom Rides, supported voter registration drives, and helped to organize the 1963 March on Washington as well.

(This information I wish I knew in high school because people never know the background players that help in big ways).

New York City Pride Parade

In 2013, Belafonte was named a grand marshal of the New York City Pride Parade alongside Edie Windsor and Earl Fowlkes. He is one of the few performers to have received an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony (EGOT), although he won the Oscar in a non-competitive category. Belafonte died from congestive heart failure at his home on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, New York City on April 25, 2023, at the age of 96.

Thank you Mr. Harry Belafonte, for your contributions on making this world a better place for everyone.

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