Paul Robeson (1898-1976)
Athlete, Entertainer, Activist
Robeson was one of the most gifted men in the history of the world. He was an athlete, actor, author, attorney, a scholar and concert singer. Born in Princeton, New Jersey on April 9, 1898, Paul Robeson showed that he was a man of many talents. He gave 296 performances as Othello on Broadway. He was subsequently recognized as an internationally famous singer and performed on concert stages throughout the world. Robeson spoke and performed in over twenty languages and dialects, and became a spokesman throughout the world against exploitation, injustice, and racism. His attacks on injustice and racism in the United States became a severe international embarrassment to the United States government. In 1950, Robeson’s passport was revoked by the U.S. State Department, and President Truman signed an executive order forbidding Mr. Robeson to leave the United States under penalty of five years in prison and a $500 fine. In 1958 Robeson left the United States for England and did not return until 1963. Throughout his lifetime he fought against all forms of racism and oppression perpetuated on Blacks in the United States. He died in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on January 23, 1976.