Labour Research November 2012


My song

A memoir of art, race and defiance

Harry Belafonte, Canongate Books, 470 pages, paperback, £14.99

There is a lot more to singer, actor and activist Harry Belafonte than his famous hit, the Banana Boat Song.

Born into poverty in Harlem two years before the Great Crash, Belafonte went on to be on the frontline of practically every progressive political battle in modern memory.

Through his meteoric rise as an international calypso star, his provocative crossover into Hollywood where he broke down many racial barriers, his passionate lifelong involvement in the civil rights movement and other social causes, to his personal struggles and rich friendships, this is a hugely inspirational story.

Harry Belafonte supported civil rights leader Martin Luther King after he made headlines with the Montgomery bus boycott.

And he supported King’s campaigns with time, energy and a considerable amount of money, flying to Greenwood Mississippi In August 1964, (where his arrival was greeted by members of the white supremacist Klansmen), with $70,000 in a briefcase to support students working on voter registration drives.

This was a man who used his unique position to support the broader struggles that would influence the future for generations of black people in America and worldwide.

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