This decision was motivated by Harry Belafonte’s belief that enlisting in the navy would allow him to better serve his country. In 1944, he bravely volunteered to fight in World War II, but he never received an order from higher command to report to his unit’s headquarters in the foreign theatre of operations. Despite having made a modest contribution to the military, he was never called upon to fight in a combat zone.
Even though his military aspirations were never realised, Harry Belafonte decided to continue his education at the New School for Social Research after being discharged from the army. During his time at the New School’s dramatic workshop and with the American Negro Theatre in the 1940s, he supplemented his income by singing in nightclubs to help pay for his acting lessons and to support himself.