Harlem Renaissance[ edit ] Robeson worked briefly as a lawyer, but he renounced a career in law due to extant racism. An Artist's Journey, Paul Robeson was a famous African-American singer, actor, and civil rights activist. This biography offers detailed information about his childhood, life. Britannica Web sites. Articles from Britannica encyclopedias for elementary and high school students. Paul Robeson - Student Encyclopedia (Ages 11 and up). Robeson made only one stereo recording, a two volume set of his historic Carnegie Hall recital - his only appearance there. I'm tired of livin' and 'feared of dyin'
He also courted disdain and public controversy for most of his career as a staunch Cold War-era advocate for human rights. While the backlash of his civil rights activities and left-wing ideology left him embittered and practically ruined his paul robeson biography, he remains today a durable symbol of racial pride and consciousness.
Born in Princeton, New Jersey, on April 9,Paul LeRoy Bustill Robeson and his paul robeson biography siblings William, Benjamin, Reeve, Marian lost their mother, a paul robeson biography, in a fire buography quite young Paul was only six.
Paul's father, a humble Presbyterian minister and former slave, raised the family singlehandedly and the young, impressionable boy grew up singing spirituals in his father's church. Paul was a natural athlete and the tall 6'3"strapping high school fullback had no trouble earning a scholarship to prestigious Rutgers University in at age 17 -- becoming only the third member of his race to be admitted at the time.
He excelled in football, baseball, basketball, and track and field, graduating as a four-letter man. He was also the holder of a Phi Beta Kappa key in his junior year and was a selected member of their honorary society, Cap and Skull. Moreover, he was the class valedictorian and in his speech was already preaching idealism.
Paul subsequently played professional football to earn money while attending Columbia University's law school, and also took part in amateur dramatics.
During this time he met and married Eslanda Cardozo Goode in She eventually became his personal assistant. Despite the fact that he was admitted to the New York paul robeson biography, Paul's paup as an actor was destined and he never did practice law. His wife persuaded him to play a role in "Simon the Cyrenian" at the Harlem YMCA in This was followed by biigraphy Broadway paul robeson biography the paul robeson biography year in the short-lived play "Taboo", a drama set in Africa, which also went to London.
As a result, he was asked to join the Provincetown Players, a Greenwich Village theater group that included in its membership playwright Eugene O'Neill. O'Neill personally asked Paul to star in his plays "All God's Chillun Got Wings" and "The Emperor Jones" in The reaction from both critics and audiences alike was electrifying In Paul delivered his first singing recital and also made his film debut starring in Body and Soula rather murky melodrama that nevertheless was ahead of its time in its depictions of black characters.
Although Robeson played a scurrilous, corrupt clergyman who takes advantage of his own people, his dynamic personality managed to shine pul. Radio and recordings helped spread his name across foreign waters. His resonant bass was a major highlight in the London production of "Show Boat" particularly with his powerful rendition of "Ol' Man River. Paul caused a slight stir by co-starring opposite a white actress, Peggy Ashcroftwho played Desdemona.
Around this time Paul starred in the landmark British film Borderlinea silent film that dealt strongly with racial pauls robeson biography, and then returned to the paul robeson biography in the O'Neill play "The Hairy Ape" in The following year he appeared in a Broadway revival of "Show Boat" again as Joe. In the same production, the noted chanteuse Helen Morgan repeated her original performance as the half-caste role of Julie, but the white actress Tess Gardella played the role of Queenie in her customary blackface opposite Robeson.
Biiography spent paul robeson biography of his time singing and performing in England throughout the s. He also was given the opportunity to recapture two of his greatest stage successes on film: The Emperor Jones and Show Boat In Britain he continued to film sporadically with Sanders pm dawn biography the RiverSong of BiograhyKing Solomon's MinesDark Sands and The Proud Valley in important roles that resisted demeaning stereotypes.
During the s he also gravitated strongly towards economics and politics with a burgeoning interest in social activism. In he made the first of several trips to the Soviet Union and outwardly extolled the Russian way of life and their lack of racial bias.
He was a popular figure in Wales where he became personally involved in their civil rights affairs, notably the Welsh miners.
Developing a marked leftist ideology, he continued to criticize the blatant discrimination he found so prevalent in America. The s was a mixture of performance triumphs and poignant, paul robeson biography upheavals. By this time, however, Robeson was being reviled by much of white America for his outspoken civil rights speeches against segregation and lynchings, particularly in the South.
A founder of the Progressive Party, an independent political party, his outdoor concerts sometimes ignited violence and he was now a full-blown target for "Red Menace" agitators.
In he denied under oath being a member of the Communist Party, but steadfastly refused to refute the accusations under subsequent probes. As a result, his passport was withdrawn and he became engaged in legal battles for nearly a decade in order to retrieve it. Adding fuel to the fire was his only son's Paul Jr. Essentially blacklisted, tainted press statements continued to hound him. He began performing less and less in America. Despite his growing scorn towards America, he never gave up his American citizenship although the anguish of it all led to a couple of suicide attempts, nervous breakdowns dobeson a dependency on drugs.
Europe was a different story. He had a command of about 20 languages and wound up giving his last paul robeson biography performance in "Othello" on foreign shores -- at Stratford-on-Avon in While still performing bioggraphy the s, his health suddenly took a turn for the worse and he finally returned to the United States in Paul remained in poor health for pretty much the rest of his life.
His last years were spent in Harlem in near-total isolation, denying all interviews and public correspondence, although he was honored for speaking out against apartheid in South Africa in Paul died at age 77 of pauls robeson biography from a stroke. Among his many honors: In his autobiography "Here I Stand" was published in England in ; his son, Paul Robeson Jr.
An Artist's Journey" in In and he sang in of the U. He sang "Ol' Man River" in the show, and made the second ever recording of the song ever in Bing Crosby did the the same year he starred in the show.
He became so identified with it apul he starred in three more productions of "Show Boat": Although he continued singing "Ol' Man River" in every one of his solo recitals, and made at least two more recordings of the song, he began changing the lyrics after to reflect his more racially conscious views. Elected Valedictorian of bipgraphy senior class at Rutgers, Played football professionally for three years in the APFL American Professional Football League Graduate of Columbia University School of Law.
Elected to Phi Beta Kappa at Rutgers in Inducted into the Rutgers Football Hall of Fame. Inducted into the National College Football Hall of Fame. Robeson was twice Named All-American Football Player for Rutgers at End, in and Robeson was only the paul robeson biography black person to attend Rutgers University, the state university of New Jersey.
Robeson was the first black person to play football for Rutgers University. Insaid he wouldn't make any more films until there were better roles for blacks. According to the biography written by his son, Paul Robeson Jr. They appeared in one film together, The Emperor Jones Was able to speak and write in over 20 languages.
In stage productions he acted William Shakespeare 's "Othello" as robexon was written, but when he performed Othello's final speech at his concert recitals, he changed the famous phrase "one palu lov'd not wisely, but too well" to "one that lov'd full wisely, but too well".
Has a black tomato variety named after him, allegedly named so by its Russian growers because he was extremely well liked in that country. The Broadway production of "Othello", in which Robeson starred is, to this paul robeson biography, the longest-running non-musical production of a Shakespeare play ever to be ;aul in the United States, due almost entirely to Robeson's enormous popularity at the time.
In its time, the Robeson "Othello" could not have been filmed because of the racial climate of the era - a black man could not play a love scene with a white woman in a motion picture in the s.
In addition, Robeson was blacklisted for his political beliefs inand as a result, was not able to make any films in the U.
Although he changed the lyrics of "Ol' Man River" in to reflect his own personal and political views, and although the recordings he made of the song after use those altered pauls robeson biography, Robeson always sang the song as originally written by Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II in the stage productions of "Show Boat" in which he appeared, as well as in the film version with the exception of the word 'niggers", pqul, in the film, was changed to "darkies".
Member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. Was the subject of the song "Paul Robeson Born To Be Free " by the Celtic rock group, Black Robeson made only one stereo recording, a two paul robeson biography set of his historic Carnegie Hall recital rkbeson his only appearance there.
Unfortunately, the albums made from this paul robeson biography turned out to be his last. The Carnegie Hall concert has since been issued on CD, and shows him in remarkably good voice for a sixty year old singer.
He was awarded the Stalin Peace Prize by the Soviet paul robeson biography. He was the last one to receive it before it was renamed the Lenin Peace Prize a few years later. In December he sang a whole night for Spanish Republican troops fighting to take the town of Teruel.
Portrayed by Avery Brooks in a revival of the theater production about his life. Appeared in a World War II-era U. Government War Department propaganda film aimed at combating the paul robeson biography of venereal diseases among black soldiers. The film was called "Easy to Get" serial number T. Portrayed by James Earl Jones in a theatre production about his life. Jones sang in the production, despite the fact that he does pau, possess a pual "singer's voice".
This one-man show was eventually telecast on PBS. He was elected into the New Jersey Hall of Fame for his contributions to History.
His father was William Drew Robeson, a minister. His mother was Maria Louisa Bustill? Nearly died from double pneumonia and a blocked kidney in Attempted suicide at a party in His son Paul Robeson Jr.
Although he did give a biographt interviews on television, he never played any dramatic or musical roles in that medium. Was investigated by the California Senate's Fact Finding Committee on Un-American Activities colloquially known as the "Tenney Committee" biogrpahy Committee Fobeson Jack Tenney.
The Tenney Committee investigated alleged communists in California. He was captain of the Rutgers debating team. Played professional Football for the Akron Pros and Milwaukee Badgers.
There were no lines he objected to in "Song of Freedom. I don't know how or why. That's his comment, but I have no evidence of it. He was a lovely man. We discussed politics naturally, but I'm not politically minded although I follow. And I have my own theories. He said you've got to be a citizen of the world because of this I don't stand up for one or the other, only for what's right He wanted to convert me, but he was very gentle about it.
I'll take anybody's arguments if they have a sense of humor with it. And, of course, he laughed so easily. We became great friends. I loved him, and he always came to see me when I was playing. Personal Quotes 1 I shall take my voice wherever there are those who want to hear the melody of freedom or the words that might inspire hope and courage in the face of fear.
My weapons are peaceful, for it is only by peace that peace can be attained, . The song of freedom must prevail.