Provides a biographical portrait of the football player and Rutgers College graduate who became a world-renowned actor, singer, and motion picture star - (Baker & Taylor)
This work presents a kaleidoscopic portrait of Paul Robeson (1898-1976), the All-American football player, Phi Beta Kappa Rutgers College graduate, who became a world-renowned actor, singer and motion picture star, and America's first African American politically-engaged performing artist. Coming to maturity during the Harlem Renaissance, Robeson starred in Eugene O'Neill's plays, sang spirituals in concert houses throughout Europe, headlined three productions of Othello, and created enduring roles in such movies as "The Emperor Jones" (1933), "Song of Freedom" (1936) and "The Proud Valley" (1940). But Robeson was also an African American who reacted against negative representations of blacks in his films "Sanders of the River" (1935) and "Tales of Manhattan" (1942) by criticizing racism in the media and ultimately refusing to make more films. A robust political intellectual, Robeson shaped the Leftist critique of fascism, championed the rights of workers and oppressed minorities on his travels around the world, and became one of America's most outspoken critics of racism after World War II. During the Cold War his steadfast defense of the Soviet Union was seized upon by the media, the United States government and McCarthyites, unfortunately tarnishing his name and achievements. This collection of essays by some of America's most respected scholars and intellectuals - published on the centenary of his birth - is designed to remind contemporary Americans of Robeson's accomplishments and provide a fresh assessment of his contributions.
- (Chicago Distribution Center
To mark the centennial of the birth of athlete, singer, actor, and political activist Paul Robeson, a multimedia traveling exhibition will hit the road in New Jersey and travel to Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., and New York during 1998^-99. This compendium on the great man, edited by the exhibition's curator, will surely reach more American communities and perhaps make a deeper impression. Sixteen essays treat virtually every aspect of Robeson, including his love affair with Communism, with long overdue sympathy. Even with contributors including fiery law professor Derrick Bell, Robeson biographer Martin Duberman, columnist Julianne Malveaux, and the doyen of African American historians, John Hope Franklin, the good words don't overwhelm the 240 illustrations. Nor should they, for Robeson personified the word photogenic, and editor Stewart's essay on Robeson as an icon of physical beauty, especially in some 1920s photographic nudes, is one of the best in the book. A handsome, engrossing, fitting tribute. ((Reviewed February 15, 1998)) Copyright 2000 Booklist Reviews
School Library Journal Reviews
YA This collection of essays celebrating the centenary of Robeson's birth reminds readers of the versatility of one of the most controversial figures of the 20th century. Published as a companion to a National Portrait Gallery's exhibition, the well-organized and skillfully designed volume offers a deep look at the famous African-American performing artist, film actor, college athlete, political activist, and government target, driving home the complexity of Robeson's life. While the actor's very name reminds readers of his outspoken defense of the USSR during the Cold War, many may not have realized that he also criticized racism in films, corruption in the American labor movement, and violations of civil rights in American society often at great personal sacrifice. Mark D. Naison's article reflecting on Robeson's role in the labor movement will be of value to government and history students, just as essays on his performing-arts work and film roles will interest and inform English, music, and drama students. A strong feature of the publication is its many and varied photographs, all skillfully captioned. Margaret Nolan, W. T. Woodson High School, Fairfax, VA Copyright 1999 School Library Journal Reviews