Paul Robeson fulfills the role of the artist. He speaks to the truth of the black man's role in the building of America. What kind of artist will you be?
Check out this interview with Paul Robeson:
“The artist must elect to fight for freedom or slavery. I have made my choice." Paul Robeson, seen here on Australian television in 1960. Mr. Robeson (1898-1976) was valedictorian of his class at Rutgers University in 1919 and earned a law degree from Columbia University in 1923. Fluent in several languages, he enthralled fans with his rich bass voice in concert halls around the world, on Broadway and on film. His European concerts often turned into anti-Nazi demonstrations and he performed for Allied forces during World War II. As he traveled the world, he was struck by the irony of receiving normal, fair treatment, yet not being able to eat or stay at the same hotels as white people in his homeland. Duplicitous anticommunist crusaders who did not argue against racism and human rights violations protested his performances, sometimes violently. His outspokenness drew the attention of J. Edgar Hoover's FBI and in 1950, the State Department revoked his passport, effectively ending his international career and ruining his finances. His passport was restored eight years later after the Supreme Court ruled that the State Department could not deny citizens the right to travel because of their political beliefs or affiliations.
Thank you Paul Robeson for being one of the forebears who laid the groundwork that have brought us this far and inspires us to keep it pushing.
April Yvette Thompson