Singer and Civil-Rights Activist Harry Belafonte Dies at 96

Harry Belafonte, a well-known entertainer, and civil rights leader, died at his home in New York on Tuesday morning. He was 96.

Ken Sunshine, who was Mr. Belafonte’s assistant, said that he died of heart failure caused by swelling.

The Black artist who won awards broke down barriers in his work and in his activity. He worked with Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. and helped set up the 1963 March on Washington.

Harold George Belafonte Jr. was born in Harlem, New York City, in 1927. He spent part of his childhood in Jamaica, which is where his mother was born. When he got back to the U.S., he joined the U.S. Navy. After he was released, he moved to New York City.

Mr. Belafonte Helped Bring Caribbean-style Music to the U.S.

In New York, where he went to the Dramatic Workshop of the New School for Social Research, Mr. Belafonte found his love for the arts. He joined the American Negro Theater, where he met Sidney Poitier, who became his best friend for life.

In the 1950s, Mr. Belafonte helped bring Caribbean-style music to the U.S. His 1956 album “Calypso,” which included “Day-O (The Banana Boat Song),” broke a record by selling more than 1 million copies. This was the first time that a single artist had done this.

The tweet below confirms the news:

His long and varied career won him many awards, including the Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony. In 1954, he got a Tony Award for his role in “John Murray Anderson’s Almanac.” In 1954, he also starred in the musical “Carmen Jones.”

Mr. Belafonte used his fame to bring attention to civil rights and humanitarian problems throughout his career. The Martin Luther King Jr. Research and Education Institute at Stanford University says that he became a close friend of Dr. King and was in charge of his estate after he was killed in 1968.

“When I was a child, Harry Belafonte helped my family in very kind ways. In fact, he paid for a babysitter for me and my brothers,” Bernice King, Dr. King’s daughter, said in a tweet. I’ll never forget…Rest well, sir.”

His wife, children, stepchildren, and grandkids will remember him.

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