The Civil Rights Movement in the United States is chronicled in the annals of America history and many long-standing Black leaders have significantly contributed to this legacy, among the many stalwarts who made the movement possible is the legendary social justice defender, activist and entertainer, Harry Belafonte. His work for decades however, has not gone unnoticed and even today Harry Belafonte is still being recognized for this work and the meaningful contributions he helped make towards social changes that are beneficial for all.
During the recent State of the City address at the Apollo Theatre in Harlem, New York City’s Mayor, Bill de Blasio announced that the 115th Street Branch Library in Harlem would be renamed “The Harry Belafonte – 115th Street Branch Library.”
In the announcement, Mayor de Blasio stated that the honor was a conjoined effort, collaborated with the Executive Committee of the New York City Public Library. The mayor said that the decision was based on the long history of Belafonte’s work in the community and the significant role he played in social justice, culture and activitism in New York City “it was my honor and privilege to work with the New York City Public Library to honor, Mr. Belafonte and celebrate the life and accomplishment of this invaluable New Yorker.”
New York City Public Library President Tony Max said it was an honor for the New York Public Library to be a part of the recognition of Belafonte’s work. Max said, “it is perfect name sake.” Belafonte, he said has deep roots in Harlem and the values he stood for over the years made New York City Public Library supportive in honoring the legend. Max noted too, that the recognition of the Civil Right activist is a reflection of the, “values and passion that Mr. Belafonte stood for over his long and distinguished career.”
Belafonte paid homage to Harlem, “I was born here. Harlem holds a very special place in my heart and I am so honored that I will now have a place in Harlem. A library is a place for people to come.”
Harlem resident, Bridgette Desport expressed gratitude for such a worthy recognition for Harry Belafonte. “I was happy to learn about it,” she said. “He is the perfect match and one of the main reasons I am so excited is that he is still alive to witness this honor and commemoration. His work is invaluable,” Ms. Desport stated. Commenting on the trajectory of Belafonte’s excellent work, Desport said, “it is incredible and if the young people could see him in person at the 115th Street Branch Library it would be an inspiration to them.” Harry Belafonte was born to Jamaican parentage. He turned 90 on March 1.