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My SongEine mitreißende Jahrhundertgeschichte: Harry Belafontes Autobiographie. Sänger, Schauspieler, politischer Aktivist. Harry Belafontes Leben mutet an wie ein Märchen und liest sich wie ein Roman: Aus ärmlichen Verhältnissen stammend, wurde er zu einem der bekanntesten und beliebtesten Entertainer unserer Zeit. Ein Mann, der die Macht, die ihm seine Popularität verleiht, seit Jahrzehnten nutzt, um für eine gerechtere Gesellschaft zu kämpfen. Er kannte sie alle: Eleanor Roosevelt, Sidney Poitier, John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr., Robert Kennedy, Nelson Mandela, Fidel Castro. Die Lebensgeschichte Harry Belafontes ist eine Jahrhundertstory. Auf wunderbar lebendige Weise erzählt er von seiner Kindheit im Harlem der 1930er-Jahre, wo Ganoven den Ton angaben, von Kindheitstagen zwischen jamaikanischen Bananenplan tagen, von seinen Kollegen in der Schauspielklasse des deutschen Exilanten Erwin Piscator - Marlon Brando, Walter Matthau und Tony Curtis - damals allesamt noch so unbekannt wie Belafonte, von den Anfängen der Bürgerrechtsbewegung, seiner Freundschaft mit Martin Luther King, Jr., und wie es dazu kam, dass er 1960 Wahlkampfwerbung für John F. Kennedy machte. Bis heute hat Harry Belafonte, seit Jahren UNICEF-Botschafter, nichts von seiner Leidenschaft für den politischen Kampf eingebüßt: Er wirft Barack Obama vor, nicht genug Herz für die Armen zu zeigen, und sucht, gerade auch mit diesem Buch, den Dialog mit politisch aktiven jungen Menschen auf der ganzen Welt. Eine inspirierende Autobiographie, ein Buch, das vor Energie und Lebensfreude vibriert wie die Songs Harry Belafontes.
- Verlag: Kiepenheuer & Witsch
- 1. Auflage
- Ausstattung/Bilder: 1. Auflage. 2012, 32 S. z. Tl. farb. Fototaf.
- Seitenzahl: 656
- Abmessung: 222mm x 146mm x 40mm
- Gewicht: 780g
- ISBN-13: 9783462044089
- ISBN-10: 3462044087
- Best.Nr.: 34519106
The phone rang late in the evening in my New York apartment. It was the night of August 4, 1964. A night of grief and anger for all of us in the civil rights movement, but especially those in Mississippi. "We've got a crisis on our hands down here," the young man on the line said. "We need help."
At the start of that fateful summer, hundreds of volunteers, most of them students, many of them white, all of them knowing how dangerous the work would be, had come down from northern universities to register black voters and support rural blacks in pursuit of their civil rights. They were fanning out along the front lines of a civil rights war, unarmed in a state of seething segregationists.
Mississippi's police stood ready at the slightest pretext to beat them bloody and throw them in jail. The Ku Klux Klan might well do worse. That day, we all learned just how much worse. The bodies of three volunteers, missing since June 21, had been found in a shallow grave near Philadelphia, Mississippi. Michael Schwerner, James Chaney, and Andrew Goodman - two of them white, one black - had been arrested on an alleged traffic violation, briefl y jailed, then allowed to drive off, after dark, into a KKK ambush. All three had been beaten, then shot. Chaney, the black volunteer, had been tortured and mutilated.
I'd helped raise a lot of the money to launch Mississippi Freedom Summer. I'd called all the top entertainers I knew - Frank Sinatra, Lena Horne, Henry Fonda, Marlon Brando, Joan Baez, the Kingston Trio, Dick Gregory, and more - to ask that they give money directly or participate in benefit concerts. That money bought a lot of gas and cars, housing and food. But now more was needed. A lot more.
The original plan had called for students to do two-week shifts, then go home and be replaced by others. With the ominous disappearance of Schwerner, Chaney, and Goodman, every shift had insisted on staying.
Now that the bodies had been found, all those volunteers voted to stay not just through summer, but into the fall as well. "It's good they're staying," explained Jim Forman, the young man who called me that night. Jim was the de facto head of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), one of several civil rights groups down there. "Because if they leave now, or even at the end of August, the Klan will say it intimidated them into going, and the press will play it that way. And if they all stay, we can get thousands of more voters registered. The problem is we don't have the resources to keep them all here."
"What do you need?" I asked.
"At least fifty thousand dollars."
I told him I'd get it, one way or the other. "How soon do you need it?"
"We're going to burn through the rest of our budget in seventy-two hours."
Before he rang off, Forman told me one other thing. "This could get really ugly," he said quietly. "I'm hearing a lot of people say enough is enough, the hell with nonviolence. They're taking up guns. I'm worried they're going to take matters into their own hands."
I had to think hard about where that money might come from, and how I might get it to Greenwood, Mississippi. I could tap my own savings for the whole $50,000 - I'd written a check to SNCC for an amount not much smaller than that in its early days to help establish it, and others since then. For me it was "anything goes," but I owed it to my family to keep us fi nancially safe. Paul Robeson, the extraordinary actor, singer, and activist whose path I'd tried to follow my whole adult life, had given so much money to social causes that he'd left himself vulnerable to his enemies, chief among them the federal government, a formidab