Coretta Scott King and Harry Belafonte at a Peace Demonstration in Bonn (October 10, 1981)
On October 10, 1981, the city of Bonn hosted the largest peace demonstration in the Federal Republic to date. The crowd of 250,000-300,000 demonstrators demanded an end to both the armaments race and the stationing of intermediate-range missiles in Western Europe. Speaking at the demonstration, Green Party politician Petra Kelly and SPD executive committee member Erhard Eppler criticized Chancellor Helmut Schmidt’s support for NATO’s Dual-Track Decision, and author Heinrich Böll defended the peace movement against the charge of anti-Americanism. The presence of Coretta Scott King (middle), the widow of Martin Luther King, Jr., was a clear sign of the West German peace movement’s connection to the American civil rights movement. Her attendance that day assured demonstrators that American pacifists supported their cause. At the end of the demonstration, Harry Belafonte (to the left of Coretta Scott King) led demonstrators in singing “We shall overcome,” the hymn of the American civil rights movement. Photo by Jochen Moll.