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Performing at the Village Vanguard

For over 70 years, this small, triangular-shaped club that sits 15 steps below street level, has been the center for New York City’s jazz lovers and performers. Owned and run by the Gordon family, the club has gained a reputation for finding stars and making them legends. Harry Belafonte was one of the first to perform at the Village Vanguard, along with Pete Seeger and Sonny Rollins. Harry Belafonte’s numerous performances during the 1940s would be seen by John Murray Anderson, who casted Harry in his production of John Murray Anderson’s Almanac, landing him a Tony Award for Best Featured Actor.

Poets Joe Gould, Harry Kemp and Max Bodenheim read there almost nightly. Soon enough, Folk music found a home there. Artists like Lenny Bruce, Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, Peter, Paul and Mary, Burl Ives, Leadbelly. And when Calypso rose to the forefront, a young unknown named Harry Belafonte played the Vanguard.”
http://www.gvny.com/content/history/van.htm

Food for thought: It would seem that Harry Belafonte’s performances at the Village Vanguard were the beginning of his long journey towards artistic stardom and political activism. Do you think that there has been a moment or event in your life that would represent the beginning of your life’s journey?

Belafonte Recommended Reading (Pt.1)

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The Gathering for Justice

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Harry Belafonte’s involvement with UNICEF

Over the years, Mr. Belafonte’s dedication and generosity of spirit has helped set a high standard …