Friday, March 9, 2007

Harry Belafonte, The Lion At 80

"In 1965, Belafonte was on the original Selma march with Dr. King. Just before they reached Montgomery, St. Jude's Catholic Church offered its grounds to the thousands of marchers. Belafonte called in artists from around the country. Tony Bennett came, as did Pete Seeger (both were at Harry's birthday party), Sammy Davis Jr., Mike Nichols, the conductor Leonard Bernstein, Odetta and Joan Baez. In the rain, they built their stage in the mud with donated caskets from local mortuaries.

The stakes were incredibly high. People were shot and killed; people were beaten. Viola Liuzzo, a white Detroit homemaker, was fatally shot by Klansmen while driving marchers back to Selma. Weeks before, police shot a man named Jimmie Lee Jackson, who later died. Despite all that, Belafonte says that the stakes are higher today."

More here from Amy Goodman at AlterNet.

Happy Birthday, Harry. We need thousands more like you.


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