Belafonte to visit UVM, lecture on social justice

Harry Belafonte, the much-celebrated actor, singer, activist and humanitarian, famous for his Calypso music and bailing Martin Luther King Jr. out of the Birmingham City Jail, will be the headliner of UVM’s MLK week celebration. Belafonte was a close family friend of MLK during the 1950s and ’60s. Belafonte is often controversial for his speech and activities. In one radio interview Belafonte likened both then National Security Advisor Condelezza Rice and then Secretary of State Colin Powell to “house slaves” according to The New York Times. Rice responded by stating “I don’t need Harry Belafonte to tell me what it means to be black.” The activist is also critical of the Iraq War and Bush’s 9/11 tactics. “What do you call Bush when the war he put us in to date has killed almost as many Americans as died on 9/11 and the number of Americans wounded in war is almost triple? […] By most definitions Bush can be considered a terrorist,” Belafonte said. In 2006 Belafonte led a delegation of activists to meet with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. Belafonte has been the recipient of many distinguished awards including the Nelson Mandela Courage Award. He was also the first black Emmy recipient. Belafonte is slated to speak concerning the topics of social justice and equity at the Ira Allen Chapel on Tuesday, January 22 from 4 to 5 p.m.