Harvard will allow a group trying to raise money to aid liberation movements in Africa to use Soldier's Field stadium for a benefit concert June 21.
Jackie O'Neill, a staffer in Harvard's Office of Community Affairs, said today Harvard will send Haymarket Concerts, a non-profit group organizing the benefit, a license agreement allowing the group free use of the stadium.
Harvard, until last year, did not allow outside groups to use the stadium. This year, Harvard will permit two groups--Haymarket Concerts and Summerthing, a Boston non-profit arts group--to use the stadium. This will be the second summer in a row Summerthing has used the stadium.
Paul Irish, a staffer for the Africa Fund, a group that raises money to aid African refugee centers and liberation movements, said yesterday, "This benefit is absolutely unprecedented in terms of goals and the size of the stadium."
Irish said the largest benefit concerts for Africa occurred in the sixties, often at Carnegie Hall in New York City. "But the difference between Carnegie and Harvard's stadium is something like 10,000."
Bob Marley, a highly political performer who helped catapult reggae music from relative obscurity to a highly popular form in Europe and America, will be the main attraction of the benefit concert.
Marley and his band will fly from Kingston, Jamaica, to Boston especially for the concert.
"He's in tune with the character of the event both musically and politically, "Rebee Garoflao, a member of Haymarket Concerts, said yesterday.
"Marley's playing at the concert is terriffic, "Irish said.
Marley is a Jamaican Rastafarian, a religious group that combines a kind of mystic spiritualism with left-wing politics. His songs reflect the emotions and attitudes of poor people in Jamaica. Some of his most popular songs include "You Belly Full, But We Hungry," "It Takes a Revolution," "Stand Up For Your Rights," and "Burnin' and Lootin'."
Also appearing with Marley will be Dick Gregory, a comedian also known for his involvement in left-wing movements. Other artists at the benefit will be Patti Labelle, Eddie Palmieri, and Olatunji Jabula.
Five persons affiliated with Harvard are helping to sponsor the benefit. Alvin F. Poussaint, associate dean for student affairs at the Medical School, is on the concert's support committee. Other Harvard sponsors are Courtney B. Cazden, professor of Education; Ruth Hubbard, professor of Biology; Chester M. Pierce, professor of Education and Psychiatry at the Medical School and School of Education; and Peggy Stern, an officer of Harvard's Education for Action Program.
The concert, named "Amandla: a Festival of Unity," is the first concert staged by Haymarket Concerts, a part of the "Haymarket People's Fund," a local foundation founded about ten years ago by George Pillsbury, heir of the Pillsbury Foods Company.
The Foundation gives about half of its grants to public-interest, grass-roots community groups in Boston. The other grants go to community groups in New England. The group continues to raise money, chiefly from donations from individuals with inherited wealth, a member of the group said yesterday.
Haymarket will give the money to the Africa Fund, part of the American Committee on Africa, which will channel the money free of charge.