MONTGOMERY, Ala. — The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) issued the following statement in response to the death of Harry Belafonte, Jr., award-winning singer, actor, and civil rights activist.
“Harry Belafonte was a passionate civil rights icon whose contributions through the arts continue to inspire our fight for the freedom and liberation of Black and Brown people today. A strong supporter of Martin Luther King, Jr., Mr. Belafonte used his celebrity to quietly underwrite the Civil Rights Movement. When necessary, he solicited famous friends and even financed the movement himself — paying bail money and hospital bills and organizing a committee that raised $50,000 to continue the Birmingham campaign after Dr. King’s arrest. Belafonte’s activism extended beyond the United States as he fought against apartheid alongside Nelson Mandela and Miriam Makeba, campaigned for Mandela’s release from jail, and advocated for famine relief in Africa.
“The SPLC mourns the passing of Harry Belafonte, Jr., the epitome of a servant leader with an unwavering commitment to social justice worldwide. Our hearts are with Mr. Belafonte’s family and loved ones. In his honor, we will continue the march toward equity, justice, and liberation for all.”