National Archives News

In Memoriam: Harry Belafonte (1927-2023)

A man in a suit and tie is seated in a row of folding chairs to the right of an older woman, who wears a bell hat. The two appear to be engaged in conversation.

Entertainer, Veteran, and Activist

Internationally acclaimed singer and actor Harry Belafonte died on April 25, 2023. He appears in the records of the National Archives throughout his career, notably for his Civil Rights activism. Above, Belafonte speaks with an unidentified attendee at the Civil Rights March on Washington, DC, in August 1963. Born into a Jamaican-American family in New York City in 1927, Belafonte went on to serve in the U.S. Navy during World War II. He used his entertainment acumen in service to the U.S. Government again as Cultural Advisor to the Peace Corps. Belafonte achieved the rare EGOT status for winning an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony. In a lifetime of accolades, he also received the Distinguished American Award from the John F. Kennedy Library and Foundation in 2002. View this image in the National Archives Catalog