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Belafonte's King Funeral Snub Called `Big Mistake'

June 22, 2006|From the Associated Press

CHICAGO — The elder son of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. said it was a "big mistake" that his family did not make sure entertainer and activist Harry Belafonte spoke at Coretta Scott King's funeral, according to a published report.

Belafonte, who has strongly criticized President Bush, has said that he was invited to speak but that the invitation was rescinded at the insistence of the White House.

Martin Luther King III, whose father was friends with Belafonte, denied that the White House was involved and said he considered the situation a mistake, the Chicago Defender newspaper reported Wednesday.

"There was a big mix-up," King said. "It certainly didn't have anything to do with President Bush being there."

The mix-up occurred because Belafonte's invitation came from a person helping plan the service, not directly from the family, King said.

More than three dozen speakers, including Bush, addressed mourners at Coretta Scott King's funeral Feb. 7 in Atlanta.

One month earlier, Belafonte had called Bush "the greatest terrorist in the world" during a trip to Venezuela. Belafonte has criticized the war in Iraq and the federal government's response to Hurricane Katrina.

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