Democratic Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders just got another high-profile endorsement—actor and Civil Rights icon Harry Belafonte.
The two met earlier this week in New York after Sanders’ impressive defeat of Hillary Clinton at the New Hampshire primaries on Tuesday. In video made exclusively for NBC News, the close confident of Dr. Martin Luther King said that for those who were undecided, folks should be open to Sanders as “he offers us a chance to declare unequivocally that there is a group of citizens who have a deep caring for where are nation goes and what it does in the process of going.”
And while some, including Clinton supporter Rep. John Lewis, have questioned Sanders claim that he participated in the Civil Rights Movement, Belafonte was quick to defend the Vermont Senator, saying that not being highly visible doesn’t mean you were not there.
He told MSNBC’s Chris Hayes, “There were a lot of people in the Civil Rights Movement. Millions of them came to march on Washington, I don’t remember the names of most of them, having even met them, I wouldn’t know them had I saw them in the light of day.”
He went on to say that Lewis “never saw most of the people in the Civil Rights Movement, and that “Bernie Sanders didn’t have a platform back [then], he didn’t become mayor until 1981. Dr. King was assassinated in 1968 and by 1980, the Civil Rights Movement was blending into other host of issues…if Sanders didn’t have a platform, would you know him in the face of thousands and millions?”
Clearly this backing of Sanders, has folks on Twitter pretty geeked:
This type of endorsement from prominent African-Americans is crucial as Sanders and Clinton’s next delegate battle heads to South Carolina, a state with a robust Black Democratic community. In 2008, 55 percent of registered Dems were Black, NBC writes. In the past week, Clinton was endorsed by Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, meanwhile Sanders was endorsed by “Between the World and Me” author Ta-Nehisi Coates.
And on Friday, the Sanders camp released this campaign video of Erica Garner, daughter of Eric Garner, an unarmed Black man who died while being choked to death by New York City police in the summer of 2014. Garner says that she “believe[s] Bernie Sanders is a protester … He’s not scared to go up against the criminal-justice system.”