Harry Belafonte in 1965

At the end of the Selma to Montgomery March, American singer and activist Harry Belafonte leans on a podium in front of the Alabama State Capitol, Montgomery, Alabama, March 25, 1965. On the podium are, among others, activist Andrew Young (back to camera in jeans) and Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth (1922 - 2011) (seated with hat in hand), a co-founder of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

(Photo by Charles Shaw/Getty Images)

Legendary Performer, Civil Rights Champion Harry Belafonte Dies at 96

"I was an activist who became an artist, I was not an artist who became an activist," the progressive champion once said.

Harry Belafonte, the beloved singer and civil rights activist who never wavered from his commitment to a better and more just world, has died at the age of 96.

A spokesperson said that Belafonte, who straddled the world between celebrity and progressive activism for over seven decades, died at his home on the Upper West Side of Manhattan from complications related to congestive heart failure.

"I was an activist who became an artist, I was not an artist who became an activist," Belafonte (1927-2023) once said.

His admirers responded to the news by heralding Belfonte's exceptional determination and generous spirit.

"Harry Belafonte NEVER STOPPED fighting for Black liberation from the bonds of racism," said Maya Wiley, president and CEO of the Leadership Conference of Civil and Human Rights. "A powerful voice and leader. So grateful for him."

Activist and scholar Cornell West said, "I am deeply sad at the loss of my very dear brother—the great Harry Belafonte! His artistic genius, moral courage & loving soul shall live forever! God bless his precious family!"

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