Paul Robeson (1898–1976)

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Writings by Paul Robeson

To You Beloved Comrade
By Paul Robeson, reprinted in Northstar Compass, October 2003. Colonial peoples today look to the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. They see how under the great Stalin millions like themselves have found a new life.

Writings about Paul Robeson

Paul Robeson; Artist of Genius and Internationalist
By Dave Silver, March 1998. The press' conscious neglect of Paul Robeson's internationalism, whether lending his voice to the Spanish Loyalists, the Welsh Miner strikers or beating back the racists at Peekskill or Major League Baseball, leaves out an essential part of his genius and humanity.
Paul Robeson: Anti-racist figher for socialism
Workers World, 16 April 1998. The centennial of Robeson's birth is an opportunity to bring his story to the many young activists who have not had the opportunity to learn of his life. It is a chance for the progressive movement to elevate his contributions to the anti-racist and anti-imperialist struggle.
The First Peekskill ‘riot’: August 27, 1949
By Virginia Hirsch, 25 June 1998. Dramatic first hand account of police repression at Robeson's failed Peekskill concert.
Writing Robeson
By Martin Duberman, The Nation, 28 December 1998. Robeson's biographer reflects upon the extent to which people can achieve understanding across a racial gap; the issue of Robeson's womanizing and why a gay person might be empathetic to Robeson.
Paul Robeson's most important role was as seeker of justice
By Eugene Kane, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 28 February 1999. He was the most famous, the most talented, the most outspoken black person in the world, but today many don't really know him at all.
Paul Robeson and Labor
By Fred Hirsch, AME-Zion Church, San Jose, CA, 12 March 1999. Paul Robeson was a musical artist, orator, renowned actor, student of languages and a scholar who drew his strength from being a worker and a man of struggle, and that's what he was.
Lost opportunity: Robeson planned to see Castro just before the Bay of Pigs invasion. US ‘poisoned Robeson’ with mind-bending drug
By Tom Rhodes, New York, Sunday Times of London, 14 March 1999. Paul Robeson Jr claims his father may have been poisoned by the CIA to prevent what would have been a high-profile visit to Havana at the time of the American-backed invasion.
Paul Robeson and a children's summer camp
By Paul Robeson's visits to an interracial summer camp for children in New Jersey, Wo-Chi-Ca. He sang concerts in the City to help support children in the country.
Paul Robeson and the Theater (excerpt)
By Amiri Baraka, Black Renaissance/Renaissance Noire, Fall/Winter 1998. Robeson said to Truman that if the government did not do something about lynching, Negroes would! Truman said it sounded like a threat. From this moment on, the press declared war on Robeson.
Americans Through Their Labor: Paul Robeson's Vision of Cultural and Economic Democracy
By Mark D. Naison, Ominira, Spring 1999. Throughout the 1940s, he was far and away the best known person of African-American descent in the world. Yet within a span of ten years, 1947 to 1957, Robeson was virtually erased from historic memory. In response to a coordinated effort to impugn his patriotism, that extended from the FBI and US State Department to Congressional and state investigating committees, Robeson was barred from the commercial theater, the Hollywood film industry, radio and television, and from the concert stage.
Did the CIA Poison Paul Robeson?
Counterpunch, 1 April 1999. In the spring of 1961, Robeson planned to visit Havana, Cuba to meet with Fidel Castro and Che Guevara. The trip never came off because in Moscow, where he had gone to give several lectures and concerts, he had slashed his wrists in a suicide attempt after suffering hallucinations and severe depression. Robeson's son, Paul Robeson, Jr., believes that his father was slipped a synthetic hallucinogen called BZ by US intelligence operatives.
Paul Robeson's Here I Stand: The Book They Could Not Ban
By Lloyd L. Brown, Political Affairs online, 12–18 February 2007. When Here I Stand appeared, the “Big White Folks,” whom Robeson had defiantly challenged in its pages, made a concerted effort to boycott the book and thus silence his voice in print as they had silenced him in all other mass media.