Harry Belafonte to Speak Feb. 6
Entertainer and social activist Harry Belafonte will give a talk titled “A Committed Life,” at 11:45 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 6 in Occidental College’s Thorne Hall. The talk is free and open to the public.
Belafonte’s artistic and humanitarian work has been recognized with an Emmy, a Tony, the National Medal of Arts, the Martin Luther King Jr. Peace Prize and the Nelson Mandela Courage Award. His 1955 “Calypso” album was the first to sell a million copies, and he was an organizer of the “We are the World” song, which raised millions of dollars for famine relief in Africa. He has served as a cultural adviser for the Peace Corps and a goodwill ambassador for the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
Belafonte’s support of the civil rights movement took place both in public and behind the scenes. He first met King in New York City in 1956, becoming a confidant and supporter until King’s death in 1968. In 1963, he raised $50,000 for King’s bail after he was jailed in Birmingham, Ala. Later that year, he hosted a meeting in his home between Sen. Robert F. Kennedy and black activists, including the author James Baldwin. And in 1968, when he guest hosted “The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson” for a week, he had King on the show.
Belafonte’s Feb. 6 appearance is part of Occidental’s First Tuesday Speaker Series. Sponsored by the Remsen Bird Fund, the series brings a dynamic speaker to campus on the first Tuesday of every month. Past speakers include Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, author Reza Aslan, and journalists Paul Glastris and Stephen F. Hayes.