Interview with Harry Belafonte

From Emmett Till through all that time, to Selma to Dr. King.


From Emmett Till, from Emmett Till to tall that time from, from the 1930s, from the Civil War, from slavery, I think that, I'm not quite sure, Dr. King and I used to talk about this, why are we really here? What is our purpose? What is the mission? Ah, what are our, what are really our rights? I think that those of us who have been involved in this kind of experience are not out of step with history. I believe that those of us who have this experience are the richer for it. People have often talked about things that I may have sacrificed in my commitment to the movement like more money or jobs or greater visibility or moving along more rapidly with, with, with other interests that they hold dear. And I feel a lot like Ali must have felt, it doesn't equate. It, ah, it's, it's meaningless. Nothing can replace the experience of Dr. King and the movement and Fannie Lou Hamer and the experience and Schwerner and Goodman and Chaney and, and, and all Medgar Evers, everybody who was in it. It was a great, great time in my life and I was blessed to have had an opportunity to be in service to it. I continue to be in service because as long as I live and the need exists I will do what it is that I feel I have to do. But I believe that we will be viewed in history as having been a milestone and a reflection of the best that this moment represented in America. We were the best. Not our walking on the moon, not our technological breakthroughs, not our inordinate successes on the stock market, none of it. Anybody who is in motion to save this planet and was in motion to make a difference in the lives of human beings and how we come to a greater truth about it all, will be the ones who will be in the final analysis, I think, the ones most remembered or the ones most revered. Ah, what Dr. King gave us, what Stokely Carmichael gave it, or Malcolm X gave it, everybody gave us. Whether you agreed with him or not the energy of that time and the goals that we were all aspiring to I think is what it was all about at its best. At its worst is when we did nothing.