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A very popular singer and actor of West Indian background, Harry
Belafonte was the most prominent celebrity endorser of the Civil
Rights Movement. He was a close confidante of Dr. King, whom he met as
early as 1953. Belafonte used both his personal funds and his ability
to raise revenue to support the work of the Southern Christian
Leadership Conference as well as various other civil rights
organizations. He played an important role in raising bail for jailed
activists, in financing the Freedom Rides and in bankrolling Freedom
Summer. He also supported voter registration drives, helped organize
celebrity participation in the March on Washington and marched in all
major demonstrations. Belafonte continues to remain one of the
world’s most prominent human rights activists.