Marguerite Byrd met entertainer Harry Belafonte in 1944 while she was a student at Hampton Institute and he was stationed at a naval base in Norfolk, Virginia. They married in 1948 and had two daughters. During the 1950s Belafonte worked as women’s editor of the New York Amsterdam News, an educational director in early childhood training, and a radio commentator. From 1958 to1960, she cochaired the NAACP’s Fight for Freedom Fund campaign with Duke Ellington and Jackie Robinson. To meet the annual one million dollar fundraising goal, she traveled nationwide presenting her benefit fashion show, “Fashions for Freedom.” In September 1960 she joined the NAACP staff as special projects director.