Paul Leroy RobesonApril 9, 1898Princeton, New Jersey, U.S.
January 23, 1976 (aged 77)Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Rutgers University (1919)Columbia Law School (1922)
Singer (spirituals, international folk, musicals, classical), actor, social activist, lawyer, athlete
Eslanda Robeson (1921
1965) (her death) 1 son
Paul Robeson, Jr.
Paul Leroy Robeson
April 9, 1898
January 23, 1976) was an African-American singerand actor who became involved with the Civil Rights Movement. At Rutgers University, he was an outstandingfootball player, then had an international career in singing, as well as acting in theater and movies. He becamepolitically involved in response to the Spanish Civil War, Fascism, and social injustices. His advocacy of anti-imperialism, affiliation with Communism, and his criticism of the US government caused him to be blacklistedduring McCarthyism. Ill health forced him into retirement from his career. He remained an advocate of theunpopular political stances he took until his death.Robeson won an academic scholarship to Rutgers University, where he became a football All-American and theclass valedictorian. He received his LL.B. from Columbia Law School, while playing in the National FootballLeague (NFL). At Columbia, he sang and acted in off-campus productions and, after graduating, he became aparticipant in the Harlem Renaissance with performances in
The Emperor Jones
All God's Chillun Got Wings
.Robeson initiated his international artistic r•sum• with a theatrical role in Great Britain, settling in London for thenext several years with his wife Essie.Robeson next appeared as Othello at the Savoy Theatre before becoming an international cinematic star through roles in
Sanders of the River
. He became increasingly attuned towards the sufferings of all cultures and peoples. Acting against advice, which warned of his economic ruin if he became politically active, he set aside his theatrical career to advocate the cause of the Republican forces of the Spanish Civil War. He then became active