News & Politics

Harry Belafonte Issues a Dire Warning for America in His Final Public Appearance

The iconic civil rights leader fears we haven't learned from past atrocities.

Photo Credit: Manfred Werner

Civil rights legend and entertainer Harry Belafonte made his self-described final public appearance at Carnegie Music Hall in Pittsburgh on Friday.

During a wide-ranging discussion of his life, Belafonte issued a warning for our country. He said America "made a mistake" when it elected President Donald Trump, but feared the U.S. may be on the verge of committing horrific acts.

“I think the next mistake might very well be the gas chamber. And what happened to Jews [under] Hitler is not too far from our door,” he said.

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But Belafonte believes the American people have the ability to stop the country from descending into darkness and can lead the nation in a positive direction.

“We have achieved a lot in my lifetime,” Belafonte said. “Dr. King was not about nothing. Eleanor Roosevelt was not about nothing. I think in the final analysis that we shall overcome because what we did is [...] we left a harvest that generations to come [will] reap. That they have not yet plowed. That they have not yet harvested.”

Listen to the full audio from the event below.

Chris Sosa is the Senior Editor at AlterNet. His work also appears in Mic, Salon, Care2, Huffington Post and other publications. Follow him on Twitter @ChrisSosa.