Interview with Harry Belafonte

Did you ever cover Resurrection City?


Yes, I went, ah, ah, in going to Resurrection City and looking at all the tents and all the people, what I saw there, more than anything else, was a sea of hope and an assumption that we would arrive at the same places, ah, with the Poor People's Campaign that we had arrived at with the Civil Rights Movement. The one thing nobody really understood clearly was that it wasn't going to happen because not only was there no real plan, there was no leadership for it. Ah, ah, so that SCLC, by the time Abernathy took over, by the time it started to re-group, by the time it started to, to call meetings together to do things, there was no clarity. There was no clarity as to what were the objectives any more. We knew the titles. Nobody had the specificity. Nobody knew the exact way in which to go about doing any of it. Ah, ah, that caused a lot of confusion and in the confusion a lot of people began to create their own little power pockets and began to seek to do their own thing. I don't think, I would not discredit my, my, my comrades and my colleagues in this endeavor by saying it was a quest for power. I think a lot of people broke off and did things because they really believe that in, in, in, in light of no real understanding and no great leadership for this, they would do what they could do in their own little environment and then set up a lot of little camps. They'd set up a Chicago camp. They'd set up a Atlanta camp. Set up a Memphis camp. Set up a New York camp. Set up, and it was very difficult to get people to come together in a like minded way.