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Harry Belafonte, Reflections

by Dr. Brenda M. Greene, Founder and Executive Director

Center for Black Literature at Medgar Evers College, CUNY

Another tree has fallen. The Center for Black Literature joins the nation in remembering and reflecting on the legacy left by our shining star and warrior, Harry Belafonte. A singer, actor, and advocate for social justice, human rights, and the arts, he used his platform to call out racism and discrimination. He reminded us that we must remember those who put their lives on the line in the civil rights struggle.

A memorable moment for the Center for Black Literature is when Harry Belafonte delivered the opening remarks at the preview of the exhibit, Freedom Journey 1965: Photographs of the Selma to Montgomery March by Stephen Somerstein. The preview, presented in partnership with the New-York Historical Society, was a fundraiser for the Center for Black Literature. In speaking of the exhibit, Belafonte focused on the need to remember that there is still much to do in the civil rights struggle. He began his opening remarks with "In many ways, a lot has changed and, in many ways, a lot has not changed."

Belafonte's work in criminal justice reform has been legendary. He was committed to ensuring that our future generations had a roadmap for promoting peace and justice throughout our nation, and in 2005 he founded "The Gathering for Justice," a nonprofit dedicated to promoting the intersection of social justice, arts, and culture.

In 2017, the 115th branch of the New York Public Library changed its name to the Harry Belafonte 115th Street Library. This library is a living tribute to our fearless and visionary artist and leader and will ensure that our young people will forever remember his name.

Mr. Belafonte will be missed, but we affirm that his spirit will live on eternally.

Rest in Peace Harry Belafonte

Pictured (left to right): Sonia Sanchez, Harry Belafonte, filmmaker Sabrina Gordon, and Dr. Brenda M. Greene (New York City, 2015). Photo credit: Personal archive of Dr. Greene.

Contact Us

Center for Black Literature

at Medgar Evers College, CUNY

(718) 804-8883

#CBL #Center4BlackLit


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