Paul Robeson

Singer, Actor
Birthplace: Princeton, NJ
Graduate of Rutgers, 1919; Columbia University Law School, 1923

Paul Robeson was the son of a runaway slave. At Rutgers he was an All-American football player. In 1924, he joined the Provincetown Players. His resounding voice and acting ability contributed to his popularity in Eugene O'Neill's Emperor Jones (1925; film, 1933). Other outstanding performances include Crown in DuBose Heyward's Porgy (1928) and Othello (in London, 1930, and New York, 1943-45). He became known especially for his interpretation of “Ol' Man River” in Jerome Kern's play Show Boat (1928; film, 1936) and for his expression of spirituals. Robeson's association with communism and his acceptance of the International Stalin Peace Prize (1952) drew suspicion from politicians in the United States. In 1958, he moved to England and continued to perform in Europe and the Soviet Union. In 1963, he returned to live in the U.S.

Related Resources

Web Resources
Biographical Information from Rutgers University

Remembering Paul Robeson
Interviews with those knowledgeable about Robeson's life.

Black History Month  Return to the Encyclopedia
of Prominent African Americans

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