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March 22nd, 2013
10:01 AM ET

Remembering Selma: Harry Belafonte and Tony Bennett mark the anniversary of the historic civil rights march

Today marks the anniversary of the third and decisive civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama.

Singer, actor and activist Harry Belafonte recruited fellow singer Tony Bennett to march with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1965. They shared their moments with CNN's Chris Cuomo in an interview that aired this morning on "Starting Point."

"The mood was anger," Belafonte tells Cuomo. "The mood was rebellious on the part of the movement, on the part of the civil rights crowd, and the question is: What do we do in the face of this kind of rage and this kind of mayhem? And there was just… the bottom line was that we will go back as often as necessary."

Belafonte says that Dr. King himself enlisted him to bring artists into the civil rights movement, such as Joan Baez, Paul Newman and Marlon Brando. One of Belafonte's first calls was to friend Tony Bennett.

"I said I'm not, I'm walking away from all this," Bennett remembers. "This is just insane, it's so ignorant and but then he told me what went down, what was going down how some blacks were burned, had gasoline thrown on them and they were burned. When I heard that I said 'I'll go with you.' You know I just realized that this is insanity."

"I don't think we had any thought of not moving forward, as a matter of fact that was the only thing we could do or, to completely abandon our movement and just accept the status quo," Belafonte says.

See more from the interview in the clip above. And check out Cuomo's appearance on "Starting Point" this morning, explaining why the Selma anniversary is a good reminder for people to continue to fight for civil rights.


Filed under: Civil rights • Selma
soundoff (2 Responses)
  1. bob

    I always wished that these two pioneer MAVERICK'S of entertainment would have collaberated and sang some old standard duos together

    March 23, 2013 at 6:28 pm | Report abuse | Reply

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