Interview with Harry Belafonte
QUESTION 51
INTERVIEWER:

--you back to the point of walking behind the coffin of Martin King, you'd lost him anger, depression, the press is there--

HARRY BELAFONTE:

There was a sense at the funeral, Dr. King's funeral that, that, we were at a moment in history that was very, very unique. All those hundreds of thousands of people who came, all the people who had to express their loss and their grievance and their grief. All of the people who came there were in a sense of oneness that I've never quite experienced anywhere else again. It's interesting about death: you have a certain feeling when you're in, at the March on Washington when Dr. King was alive which was a major convening of, of very diverse group and you had a great sense of yourself and your power. It's another thing to be in this other environment that's almost as dramatic and dealing with a loss. It does something about it how it brings you closer to your fellow human or how you perceive them. And I'll never forget that I was standing at one point next to a writer from the New York Times and he was obviously sad about the event and he was a major person at the Times. And, ah, I said to him, recalling the article on Vietnam, the, the, ah, the editorial and some other articles which helped to fan the waves of discontent and to make people quite angry at us. I pointed out to him that that march was reflective of something that the New York Times had also helped create the environment for that. And that, ah, because the way in which they had discredited Dr. King and especially as it was also done with the Washington Post but there was something about it that, that, that, smacked of, it was vitriolic. It was punitive, and it was a great disservice to a, to a rich cause. And at the funeral when I said this, I didn't say it to him in a personal accusation, I said it to, because I wanted him to understand that none of us were really exempt from a responsibility to that moment by just coming to, to, to grieve the loss, there was no cleansing of responsibility. The world would go on and remember what you did to make this moment realizable, what you did to participate in this and be cautious about how you use your power in the future because new leader obviously are going to come. There's going to be a new wave of need, a new wave of demand and that, ah, ah, it's even going to be global.