Paul Robeson

Paul Leroy Robeson ( /ˈroʊbsən/ ROHB-sən April 9, 1898 – January 23, 1976) was an internationally acclaimed American singer and actor who was a political activist for the Civil Rights Movement. But his advocacy of causes, and friendship with the peoples of the Soviet Union and third world countries were deemed anathema to US foreign policy, bringing condemnation from the executive branch of the US, scrutiny from the United States Congress, and public scorn. He was blacklisted and his income fell dramatically. Robeson refused to rescind his stand on his beliefs and remained defiantly opposed to the direction of the US government and imperialist western powers. In 1917, Robeson won a scholarship to Rutgers University, where he was a football All-American, Phi Beta Kappa and class valedictorian. He graduated from Columbia Law School while playing in the National Football League (NFL) and singing and acting in off-campus productions. After theatrical performances in The Emperor Jones and All God's Chillun Got Wings he became an integral part of the Harlem Renaissance.


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