A Historic Voice


Paul Robeson

A couple of days ago the calendar turned a page to the month of February known as Black History Month. As I think about the many African-Americans who have contributed to overall American History, I’m reminded of a recent conversation with my mother and her thoughts on educating our youth. We both are somewhat saddened by the lack of history being taught to our young people in school. My mother and I understand and appreciate our own education and learning about the efforts of all persons in the past in fields like medicine, technology, education and business. Of equal importance are the advances made within the arts. Our youth are missing the knowledge our forefathers passed down to us, especially musical accomplishments. My mother made the statement, “Most children don’t even know who Paul Robeson was.” After questioning several teenagers and young adults sadly my mothers’ statement rang true. I’m so glad I was taught about Paul Robeson and even heard some of his recorded music. I’m also happy I had the privilege of seeing some of his motion pictures. If you are reading this blog and are not familiar with Robeson, please understand he was an extraordinarily gifted vocalist. He went on to have a tremendous screen and stage career around the world. In preparation for any article I always research the musical artist for additional facts which I am unaware. In reading about Paul Robeson I found an person who led a very full life. Well educated and athletic (All-American football player who lettered in baseball, basketball, track and field in college) additionally receiving a law degree from Columbia University in 1923. Amazingly Robeson supported himself through law school by working in the Post Office, coaching baseball, playing professional football, singing and acting. Things were quite different in the 1920’s but still a remarkable effort. Paul Robeson became a true cultural ambassador touring throughout Europe and the United States. There is much more to learn about Paul Robeson and I urge you to read about this very talented singer on your own. You might begin your reading by paying a visit to www.paulrobesonfoundation.org


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