When we look at the average Black American entertainer. Whether it’s an athlete, rapper, singer, or actor, rarely do you witness them becoming deeply involved in social issues. However, if you look closely at history, there were several men willing to put their life on the line for our liberation.
In the early 1900s, when the racism in this country was at an all-time high, Paul Robeson was beginning to evolve. Ultimately, his particular way of thinking would help black people in America fight the system of oppression. Born in 1898. Paul Robeson grew up in Princeton, New Jersey.
His father was a pastor and a former slave while his mother was from a local mixed-race family who was very prominent in the area. At the tender age of 17 years old, he received a full scholarship to Rutgers University.
At the time, he was only the third African American student to enroll at the University. Robeson would become an all American football player while there, as well as class valedictorian. He attended and graduated from Columbia Law School in 1923.
After practicing law for a short time he decided to explore his love for acting. Landing his first role in a theatre play called “All Gods Chillun Got Wings”, becoming the first Black man to portray a critical role in a theatre play.
Over the next several years, Robeson would sustain a career using his acting and singing abilities as a vehicle to challenge racism and stereotypes. He would go on to star in eleven movies during his lifetime and use his baritone singing voice to communicate the problems associated with black culture.
In the 1940s, Robeson challenged President Harry Truman to support an anti-lynching law. He also openly questioned why should blacks fight in the war when this country was so racially insensitive. Paul Robeson‘s life and accomplishments are a prime example of what can be done if you stay fearless and chase your dreams