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BLACK HISTORY MONTH IN NJ: Remembers The Great Paul Robeson

By rlsmetro on

By: Richard L. Smith 

Born in Princeton, Mr. Paul Robeson was an American bass-baritone concert artist and stage and film actor who became famous for his cultural accomplishments and political activism.

According to published reports, Robeson was educated at Rutgers College and Columbia University, where he was also a star athlete in his youth. Published reports say Robeson studied Swahili and linguistics at the School of Oriental and African Studies in 1934 in London.

He also became active in the Civil Rights Movement and other social justice campaigns in the United States. His sympathies for the Soviet Union and communism and his criticism of the United States government and its foreign policies caused him to be blacklisted during the McCarthy era.

In 1915, Robeson won an academic scholarship to Rutgers College, where he has twice named a consensus All-American and was the class valedictorian. Almost 80 years later, he was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. He received his LL.B. from Columbia Law School while playing in the National Football League (NFL).

Between 1925 and 1961, Robeson recorded and released some 276 distinct songs, many of which were recorded several times. The first of these were the spirituals "Steal Away," backed by "Were You There" in 1925.

Robeson's recorded repertoire spanned many styles, including Americana, popular standards, classical music, European folk songs, political songs, poetry, and spoken excerpts from plays.

On January 23, 1976, following complications of a stroke, Robeson died in Philadelphia at the age of 77, where he now lay in state in Harlem.

We honor the life and legacy of Mr. Paul Robeson


SPONSORS: Metro Media Institute of Harrison, Nino's Pizza, Bergen Street Harrison NJ, and William Paterson University