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Black Activists - Paul Robeson

Updated on February 5, 2012

Paul Robeson was born April 9, 1898 in Princeton, New Jersey and died January 23, 1976 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Paul Robeson was the son of a former slave who became a preacher. Paul Robeson is best known for his deep baritone singing voice, the song Ol’ Man River and his portrayal of Shakespeare’s Othello. Paul Robeson was a 20th Century Renaissance man with many different talents.


Paul Robeson had a very deep baritone voice and sang Black spiritual songs. Robeson constantly sang about peace and justice for all. Robeson is best known for singing the song Ol’ Man River but had many other songs in his repertoire. Robeson’s voice was truly unique and he put his own flare on any song he sung. There was no mistaking Robeson’s unique voice.


Paul Robeson excelled both athletically and academically throughout his college years. In college Robeson received many athletic and academic awards. Paul Robeson was an All-American Football player at Rutgers College and went on to play football professionally. Robeson received many academic accolades including being valedictorian of his class. Robeson continued his studies at Columbia Law School and after graduating went on to practice law. Robeson’s stint as a lawyer was short lived due to the racism he endured. After his law career Robeson continued working in and studying the arts including his career as an actor.


Paul Robeson was an author of the book Here I Stand. Here I Stand was the story of his life with his thoughts, experiences and the issues of race. Robeson also wrote numerous articles and other writings. Robeson was very vocal about his beliefs and visions and his ideologies came across clearly in his writings.


Paul Robeson was an actor of both stage and screen. Robeson brought his own special twist and talents to every role he played. Paul Robeson was the first black actor to portray Shakespeare’s Othello in an all-white cast. Robeson was an international star receiving accolades and standing ovations for his performances in Europe. In the United States Robeson was often threatened and harassed during his performances. The differences between the audiences in Europe and the United States showed Robeson that racism was much more prevalent in the US. Robeson starred in over 10 films throughout his career.


Paul Robeson was a champion for peace and justice for all. Robeson fought for the working people and for civil rights. Paul Robeson was blacklisted under the McCarthy era because of his politics. Robeson also had his passport revoked but still continued to fight for the rights of others. Robeson fought racism at home in the United States and fought Fascism abroad. Although Robeson had many friends and allies because of his beliefs he also made many enemies. Through adversity Robeson continued to fight for what he believed in, never wavering not matter what was thrown his way.

Paul Robeson was a true renaissance man he was an actor, singer, athlete, author, activist and really truly so much more. Robeson was all about the rights of everyone being equal and he went all over the world trying to create world peace. Robeson was met many


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    • Triplet Mom profile image

      Triplet Mom 5 years ago from West Coast

      Junko - He was truly an amazing person with so much to offer. It is really a shame that he doesn't get more mentions.

    • junko profile image

      junko 5 years ago

      Paul Robeson also spoke about seven languages fluently. His Acomplishments were remarkable, but other then his own remarks, his existence and history is barely mentioned.

    • Triplet Mom profile image

      Triplet Mom 5 years ago from West Coast

      Thank you pmc!! I really enjoyed learning about him.

    • pmccray profile image

      pmccray 5 years ago from Utah

      Very well done. Robeson was a truly talented individual. Thank you for sharing, voted up, marked useful and interesting

    • Triplet Mom profile image

      Triplet Mom 5 years ago from West Coast

      Thank you one2get!

    • one2get2no profile image

      Philip Cooper 5 years ago from Olney

      Another great hub. I agree with JDove Paul had a great voice. Thank you.

    • Triplet Mom profile image

      Triplet Mom 5 years ago from West Coast

      Yes JDove an amazing voice. Thank you so much!!

    • JDove-Miller profile image

      JDove-Miller 5 years ago from YOUNGSVILLE

      Another man worthy of admiration for having stood upon the principles of justice and equality. And what a VOICE!

    • profile image

      tonyduxburyuk 5 years ago from Rotherham, south yorkshire, england

      I wish i could be so multi-talented.