Singer and civil rights activist Harry Belafonte had a front-row seat 50 years ago. "All of America showed up...and [Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.] was deeply satisfied that the people had spoken," Belafonte told Andrea Mitchell Tuesday.
Actors Burt Lancaster, Harry Belafonte and Charlton Heston at the Lincoln Memorial during the March on Washington on August 28, 1963. (Photo by Archive Photos/Getty Images)
Fifty years ago, singer and civil rights activist Harry Belafonte had a front-row seat to the March on Washington and Martin Luther King Jr’s historic “I have a dream” speech.
Belafonte told a journalist that day, ”Having been deeply immersed in the civil rights struggle and having been there at the beginning of so many important civil rights issues in this country and demonstrations, it was indeed a very powerful moment to see 200,000 people, mostly black people, but also white people, and to know that a nation such as America and the reason that I struggle with it so hard and I grapple with it so hard is because I really believe in the potential of this country. “
Belafonte joined NBC Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent Andrea Mitchell Tuesday, on the eve of the 50th anniversary celebration, and spoke of the power that crowd held.
“All of America showed up, all of the America that needed to be there,” Belafonte said, “and [Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.] was deeply satisfied that the people had spoken. They had responded, they had validated him. They had validated our cause.”
He spoke fondly of King’s widow, civil rights activist Coretta Scott King, saying, “I don’t think any American woman had ever carried a burden and displayed it with the kind of dignity and courage as was expressed by Coretta Scott King.”
“She was our first lady,” Belafonte said.
Watch Harry Belafonte’s interview with Andrea Mitchell below: