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Uncovering Harry Belafonte’s Early Career and Political Activism

On 20 January 2014, CMCI’s cultural historian Dr Harvey G Cohen hosted and co-produced a live event at King’s College London sponsored by the Institute of North American Studies, focusing on the forthcoming book “Becoming Belafonte: Black Artist, Public Radical,” by American Studies Professor Judith Smith from the University of Massachusetts at Boston.
Professor Smith gave a spirited lecture, adorned with many rare video and audio clips, demonstrating Harry Belafonte’s early radical associations in the post-war period, and his innovative musical and television work during the 1950s and 1960s that expanded and challenged the images usually seen at the time of African American culture on a national and international scale.  Smith explained how, even at the height of McCarthyism during America’s Red Scare of the 1950s, despite widespread discrimination and prejudice of the period, Belafonte was able to craft an unprecedented career while still holding onto and publicly forwarding his radical aspirations in the national mass media.
For more info on this fascinating topic, put in your Amazon reservation now for her book on Belafonte, which will be released this fall on the University of Texas Press.Belafonte

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