Paul Robeson: The Man and His Mission

Ron Ramdin, Author Peter Owen Publishers $0 (223p) ISBN 978-0-7206-0684-3
Actor, singer and political activist, the controversial Paul Robeson (1898-1976), son of former slaves, is the subject of this workmanlike, partisan biography by British freelance journalist Ramdin. He recounts Robeson's brilliant academic and sports careers at Rutgers University, his years at Columbia Law School and a stint as an attorney, his triumphs in the theater and as a singer who established black spirituals and songs as part of the American musical heritage. His Chaliapinesque voice was enormously popular abroad where he resided for extended periods, especially in the U.S.S.R. to which he felt politically attuned. Despite his active support of the American WW II effort, Robeson's pro-Soviet stance and involvement with Henry Wallace's Progressive Party, along with his opposition to the Korean War, provoked harassment by the House Un-American Activities Committee, an FBI investigation and the loss of his passport for more than a decade. In ill health and disillusioned with Soviet communism, he returned from his last trip abroad in 1963 to renew a commitment to black civil rights. Photos. (September)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1987
Release date: 08/01/1992
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