War Resisters League Celebrates 90th Anniversary At Event

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Musicians and legendary social activists Joan Baez and Harry Belafonte were among those honored Friday night, as a prominent anti-war group celebrated its 90th anniversary.

The War Resisters League held its annual gala Friday night at the Service Employees International Union Local 1199 penthouse, at 330 W. 42nd St. Baez and Belafonte were honored with awards, along with Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg.

Belafonte won the Grace Paley Lifetime Achievement Award at the event. The group said he “chose to become an ambassador for what is right and spent six tireless decades scouring the globe for a brighter future, insistently demanding that all the world live up to its best self.”

In being honored with a Peace Award, Baez was called “the exquisite songbird with the crystalline voice” who “refused to settle for mere stardom, who chose instead to become uniquely a generation’s singing dove.”

Ellsberg was credited by the group for putting “his honor — and his freedom – on the line for truth” in exposing the Pentagon Papers – a secret Pentagon study of federal decision-making during the Vietnam War.

Belafonte and Baez – natives of Harlem and Staten Island, respectively – both appeared 50 years ago at the March on Washington for Jobs and freedom with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

The War Resisters League was founded in 1923 by opponents of World War I.

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