Paul Leroy Robeson was a Renaissance man who spent most of his life fighting injustice, for which he was roundly persecuted. He was an actor, orator, athlete, lawyer, singer, author, scholar, activist and linguist. His mindset and popularity changed after he first went to Russia in 1934 and found that he was treated better there than in the United States. He spoke in support of workers and common people both abroad and in this country, and marched against discrimination.
“Here, I am not a Negro but a human being for the first time in my life. … I walk in full human dignity,” he told reporters about his experience in Russia.
His actions made him a pariah in the eyes of many. J. Edgar Hoover and his FBI put Robeson and Eslanda under surveillance in 1941 (it lasted until Robeson died in Philadelphia in 1976), the House Un-American Activities Committee called him to testify as a perceived Communist in 1956, and the State Department revoked his passport in 1950, preventing him from traveling abroad for concerts that had helped provide his salary. Many of Robeson’s concerts were canceled. Record companies were no longer interested in recording his songs. His income dropped from six figures to four. He suffered both financially and health-wise. Excerpt from the Paul Robeson House and Museum
• Made of 100% combed and ringspun cotton
• Pre-shrunk fabric
• Side seams
• Shoulder-to-shoulder taping
• Machine wash delicate cycle