‘We Love You, Mr. B.’: Ferguson Organizer On How Harry Belafonte Never Abandoned Black Freedom Fighters

Harry Belafonte

Source: United Archives / Getty

The passing of Harry Belafonte means more than just some fans losing their favorite singer or actor. Belafonte was an inspiration to activists all over the world. Activism was in his blood, and it meant just as much to him as his fortune and fame.

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Harry Belafonte’s involvement in the Civil Rights Movement was paramount. After the Montgomery Bus Boycott in 1956, Belafonte joined Martin Luther King Jr.’s side and worked next to him to help create lasting change. He also was one of King’s close confidants, often helping the family financially since King only made an honest living as a preacher.

Belafonte, along with Sidney Poitier, helped bankroll the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee during the “Mississippi Freedom Summer” of 1964. He also served as chairman of the International Symposium of Artists and Intellectuals for African Children in Dakar, Senegal. Belafonte successfully leveraged his entertainment popularity to help drive social change all over the world.

Long after the death of King, Belafonte continued his pursuit of social justice. He became an inspiration to young activists, using his influence in meaningful ways. 

“Harry Belafonte is one of the greatest social activists and freedom fighters ever to have lived,” said Cathy Hughes, Chairwoman & Founder of Urban One Inc. “Humanity has just suffered a significant wound to its consciousness.”

Ferguson movement leader, political strategist, and director of the International Black Freedom Alliance, Tory Russell remembers Belafonte as Mr. B., a master strategist who was known for his brilliant ideas around the movement.

In the video, Russell talks about one of his most memorable moments spent with the late, great Harry Belafonte. Check out the video above.


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