Name Stories: Actor Harry Belafonte

3127022030_ed0a67dc4e_mLegendary singer and actor Harry Belafonte did not always find that his name opened doors. In the 1950’s, he, like many African Americans, was routinely refused housing in segregationist America. An ardent supporter of the Civil Rights Movement, when Belafonte found his dream penthouse apartment in Manhattan’s Upper West, he did not take no for an answer. In a clever move, Belafonte sent his White publicist to pick up the rental agreement and then signed the lease in his own name. When the landlord discovered the name “Belafonte” on the agreement, he demanded the singer give up the apartment. Not only did Belafonte refuse, but he went on to buy the entire building!