Paul Robeson

Robeson in football uniform at Rutgers, c. 1919
Robeson's birthplace in Princeton.
Paul Robeson in 1942
Fritz Pollard (left) and Robeson in a photo from the March 1918 issue of The Crisis
Robeson (far left) was Rutgers University Class of 1919 and one of four students selected into Cap and Skull
Robeson and actress Irén Ágay on the set of Sanders of the River, London, 1934
Robeson leading Moore Shipyard (Oakland, California) workers in singing the "Star Spangled Banner", September 1942.
Paul Robeson with Uta Hagen in the Theatre Guild production of Othello (1943–44)
Label of a record by Paul Robeson published by Soviet Ministry of Culture
Paul Robeson Souvenir Programme UK Tour 1958.
The Paul Robeson House in Philadelphia (2009)
The Robeson holdings in the archive of the Academy of the Arts of the German Democratic Republic, 1981

American bass-baritone concert artist, stage and film actor, professional football player, and activist who became famous both for his cultural accomplishments and for his political stances.

- Paul Robeson

500 related topics


Akron Pros

The Akron Pros were a professional football team that played in Akron, Ohio from 1908 to 1926.

The 1908 Akron Indians.
The Akron Pros in 1910.
Peggy Parratt.
Akron Pros' 1920 team photo

Paul Robeson played for the team in 1921 as well.

Sanders of the River

1935 British film directed by the Hungarian-British director, Zoltán Korda, based on the stories of Edgar Wallace.

Film poster
Actor Paul Robeson and actress Irén Ágay on the set of Sanders of the River, London, 1934

The lead Nigerian characters were played by African Americans Paul Robeson and Nina Mae McKinney.

Eslanda Goode Robeson

American anthropologist, author, actress, and civil rights activist.

Eslanda Robeson, c. 1947

She was the wife and business manager of performer Paul Robeson.

Show Boat (1936 film)

1936 romantic musical film directed by James Whale, based on the 1927 musical of the same name by Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II, which in turn was adapted from the 1926 novel of the same name by Edna Ferber.

Theatrical release poster

Paul Robeson as Joe

The Emperor Jones

1920 tragic play by American dramatist Eugene O'Neill that tells the tale of Brutus Jones, a resourceful, self-assured African American and a former Pullman porter, who kills another black man in a dice game, is jailed, and later escapes to a small, backward Caribbean island where he sets himself up as emperor.

Charles S. Gilpin in The Emperor Jones (1920)
Brutus Jones (Charles S. Gilpin) removes his shoes to facilitate his flight through the jungle in the original Provincetown Playhouse production of The Emperor Jones (1920)
Poster for a 1937 Federal Theater Project production of The Emperor Jones
Brutus Jones (Charles S. Gilpin, left) at a slave auction (Scene 5)
Under the spell of hallucination, Jones fires at the wraiths of an auctioneer and a Southern planter (Scene 5)
Jones (right) wastes one of his precious bullets on the apparition of a witch doctor (Scene 7)

When they could not come to a reconciliation, O'Neill replaced Gilpin with the young and then unknown Paul Robeson, who previously had only performed on the concert stage.


Tragedy written by William Shakespeare, probably in 1603, set in the contemporary Ottoman–Venetian War (1570–1573) fought for the control of the Island of Cyprus, a possession of the Venetian Republic since 1489.

Ira Aldridge as Othello, Henry Perronet Briggs (c. 1830)
Desdemona and Othello, by Antonio Muñoz Degrain, 1880
Othello costume. Illustration by Percy Anderson for Costume Fanciful, Historical and Theatrical, 1906
Othello weeping over Desdemona's body, by William Salter, c. 1857.
Title page of the first quarto (1622)
The first page of Othello from the First Folio, printed in 1623
Portrait of Abd el-Ouahed ben Messaoud ben Mohammed Anoun, Moorish ambassador to Queen Elizabeth I in 1600, sometimes suggested as the inspiration for Othello.
Artist William Mulready portrays American actor Ira Aldridge as Othello. The Walters Art Museum.
"Othello" Chechnya National theatre Director Roman Markha (2021)

Ground-breaking black American actor Paul Robeson played the role in three different productions between 1930 and 1959.

All God's Chillun Got Wings (play)

Expressionist play by Eugene O'Neill about miscegenation inspired by the old Negro spiritual.

First edition cover
(published by Boni and Liveright)
Scene in O'Neill's All God's Chillun' Got Wings in which Paul Robeson kissed Mary Blair's hand and created a national uproar.

Arguably one of his most controversial of plays, it starred Paul Robeson in the premiere, in which he portrayed the black husband of an abusive white woman, who, resenting her husband's skin color, destroys his promising career as a lawyer.

Show Boat

Musical with music by Jerome Kern and book and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II.

Original 1927 sheet music for Ol' Man River, from Show Boat
Scene from the original Broadway production
Opening title from the 1936 film version
French poster from the 1951 MGM film version of "Show Boat"
Lena Horne as Julie LaVerne in a scene from Show Boat in Till the Clouds Roll By (1946)

The character Joe, the stevedore who sings "Ol' Man River", was expanded from the novel and written specifically by Kern and Hammerstein for Paul Robeson, already a noted actor and singer.

Ol' Man River

Show tune from the 1927 musical Show Boat with music by Jerome Kern and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II.

"Queen of my Heart", the hit song of Dorothy, was very popular as a parlour ballad.

A second version was recorded on March 1, with Paul Whiteman and his Concert Orchestra and bass singer Paul Robeson on vocals, sung in a dance tempo.

Milwaukee Badgers

The Milwaukee Badgers were a professional American football team, based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, that played in the National Football League from 1922 to 1926.

Larry Fitzgerald (in blue) catches a pass while Cortland Finnegan (in red) plays defense at the 2009 Pro Bowl.

Two other African-Americans played for the Badgers in 1922, Paul Robeson and Duke Slater.