(Host) Singer Harry Belafonte was at the University of Vermont Tuesday evening, as part of the school’s events honoring Doctor Martin Luther King Junior. Belafonte knew King and spoke about working in the civil rights movement:
(Belafonte) "I’ve never met more brilliant thinkers, greater strategists, greater planners, than those who sat at the tables of rebellion, chartering and designing the way in which to meet this mighty nation and all of its indiscretion and all of its oppression."
(Host) About 900 people listened as Belafonte spoke about work left to be done to achieve social justice – including the number of minorities in prison, ethnic gang violence and humanitarian crises around the world. He also took Americans to task for complacency in dealing with social injustice.
Belafonte said it’s up to the next generation to continue this work. He said being in Vermont gives him a window into how universities like UVM are preparing students for this mission:
(Belafonte) "And it’ll give me a chance to look inside this institution and see what does the University of Vermont do with its curriculum in relationship to the suffering and poverty and pain that is being experienced not only by millions of people in America but all over the world? When the students leave, what will they be – great bankers? What will they be – great bookkeepers? What will they be – great scientists? What will their humanity reveal?"
(Host) At 81 years old, Belafonte told the audience that he tried retiring to a tropical beach, but found he was drawn back to his work.