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Paul Robson

PAUL WAS A MOUNTAIN OF JOY...

Born in Princeton on April 9, 1898, the son of an ex-slave, Paul Robeson became a world-renown scholar, actor, athlete and singer. At the pinnacle of his artistic career in the 1940s, Robeson turned his attention to human rights, becoming an eloquent, often controversial spokesperson against racism and discrimination.


Paul Robson
Paul Robson
Paul Robeson was a gifted student and athlete while attending Rutgers University in New Jersey. He was a brilliant Phi Beta Kappa student, two time All American football player (1917-1918), and won honors in debating and oratory. He graduated from Columbia Law School but gave up law to pursue a career in singing and acting. Robeson performed on Broadway, and is noted for his leading roles in Othello and Eugene O'Neill's play, Emperor Jones, and his stunning rendition of the song "Ole Man River" in the musical Showboat. In 1934, he visited the Soviet Union, where he felt fully accepted as a black artist. During World War II, he entertained troops at the front and sang battle songs on the radio. Despite his war efforts, he was labeled "subversive" by McCarthyites, who were wary of his earlier trip to the Soviet Union, his support of the 1947 St. Louis picketing against segregation of black actors and a Panama effort to organize the mostly-black Panamanian workers. Robeson began receiving death threats from the Ku Klux Klan while campaigning for the Progressive Party candidate in the 1948 presidential election. When he publicly opposed the Cold War, even the national secretary of the NAACP questioned his loyalty as an American. Connecticut state officials also went to court to prevent him from visiting his family home in Enfield. Undaunted, Robeson formally denounced the action and on August 27, 1949, traveled to Peekskill, New York, to sing before a group of African American and Jewish trade unionists. A KKK-led riot canceled the concert but Robeson returned the following week with 25,000 supporters. A "human wall" protected Robeson while he sang, though afterwards many of the concert goers were ambushed and beaten while local police and state troopers stood by...

National Historic Landmark
Rédigé le Mercredi 14 Avril 2004 à 00:00 | Lu 3358 fois | 0 commentaire(s)





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