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Paul Robeson. Sydney Hines Block 2B 1/16/14. Life and Times. Paul Robeson was born on April 9, 1898 in Princeton, New Jersey. During this time, the Spanish-American war was happening, and Louisiana adopted the “grandfather clause” in the new constitution restricting black voting .

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Paul robeson

Paul Robeson

Sydney Hines

Block 2B


Life and times
Life and Times

  • Paul Robeson was born on April 9, 1898 in Princeton, New Jersey. During this time, the Spanish-American war was happening, and Louisiana adopted the “grandfather clause” in the new constitution restricting black voting.

  • He died in 1976 at the age of 77 in Philadelphia.

Paul robeson

  • Paul Robeson started from the bottom. In high school, he excelled by studying hard and never giving up. Robeson had the highest average ever achieved. This allowed him to attend Rutgers University on a full academic scholarship. At Rutgers University, Paul was an all around athlete and student. He enjoyed playing basketball but most importantly, enjoyed being a role model for others and many people admired Robeson so much because of his work ethic.

  • As Paul became a man, he realized what was important in this world we live in. After graduating from Rutgers, he went to Columbia University Law School, where he found a job with a New York law firm. Unfortunately, it was cut short due to racial strife, leaving Robeson with no other choice but to return to what he loved, public speaking. He then began to find work as an actor.

  • In the mid-1920’s he played the lead in Eugene O’Neil’s “All God’s Chillun Got Wings” (1924) and “The Emperor Jones” (1925). Robeson was one of the first black men to play serious roles in the primarily white American theatre. He also was a national symbol and a cultural leader in the war against fascism abroad and racism at home.

  • Robeson was a passionate believer in international cooperation, so he protested the growing Cold War and worked tirelessly for friendship and respect between the U.S. and the USSR. In 1945, Paul headed a organization that challenged President Truman to support an anti-lynching law. Later on in he 10940’s, when dissant was scarcely tolerated in the U.S., Robeson openly questioned why African American s should fight in the army of a government that tolerated racism. Because of his outspokenness he was accused by the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) of being a Communist – nearly ending his career. Eighty of his concerts were cancelled and his passport has been revoked. In 1949, two interracial outdoor concerts in Peekskill, N.Y. were attacked by racist mobs, and the state police stood by watching.

  • It took Robeson 8 years to get his passport resecured and during that time he began to study Chinese. He also met with Albert Einstein to discuss the prospects for world peace, published is autobiography, Here I Stand, and sang at Carnegie Hall. In 1960 Robeson made his last concert tour in New Zealand and Australia. 3 years later he retired from the public life and on January 23, 1976 he dies at the age of 77 in Philadelphia.

Contribution to theatre
Contribution to Theatre

  • Paul Robeson was the first black man to play serious roles in he primarily white American theatre.

  • He starred in both the stage and film versions of “The Emperor Jones” and “Show Boat.”

  • His characterization of the title role in “Othello” in London (1930) won high praise, as did the Broadway production (1943), which set an all-time record run for a Shakespearean play on Broadway.

  • Robeson had a superb bass-baritone singing voice. In 1925 he gave his first vocal recital of African American spirituals in Greenwich Village, New York City, and he became world famous as Joe in the musical play Show Boat with his version of “Ol’ Man River.”

Paul robeson

Paul Robeson was deeply admired for his work and his performances. Many people respected him and what he believed in. When he sung, he sung with life and passion and he never gave up. Even when his passport was revoked, he still managed to keep his sanity. Now, here is a little something, something…