Paul Robeson was a man who was never given credit for what he did. He starred in many plays and sang in many concerts, and he was also an outstanding athlete. He was even in the prestigious Phi Beta Kappa honor society. On top of all of this, he was a civil rights activist.
On April 9th, 1898, Paul Leroy Robeson was born in Princeton, New Jersey. He was the youngest of five children. His father had escaped from slavery and became a Presbyterian minister. His mother was from a distinguished Philadelphian family. She burned to death in a stove fire accident, in 1904.
For schooling, young Robeson went to a segregated school. For college, he won a scholarship to Rutgers when he was 17 years old. After that year of high school, Robeson immediately went to college. He began to speak out about racism in college.
He played four varsity sports in college (baseball, basketball, football, track and field). He was the star running back on the football team and the star catcher on the baseball team. He won 15 sport letters for his efforts. He was also elected twice to the Collegiate All-American Football Team. He also supported himself in the course of his college career by playing professional football on the weekends.
During college, Robeson became a member of “The Cap and Skull Honor Society” due to the fact that he studied Latin, Greek, Physics, Math, and History. He was doing very well in all of these classes. Robeson used his power in the honor society to get the word out about racism in America and the rest of the World.
As all college students, Robeson had to write a senior thesis. “His senior thesis entitled ‘The Fourteenth Amendment, the Sleeping Giant of the American Constitution.’ was a scholarly yet passionate examination of the constitutional amendment that guarantees all U.S. citizens their civil right and forbid any state to pass laws that infringe on theses rights.’”
Soon after, he graduated from Rutgers. “In announcing Robeson’s graduation, one newspaper calls the distinguished student ‘one of the biggest all-around college men and athlete that this country has ever known.’”
Robeson later continued his education at Columbia University to get his Masters Degree in Law. After graduating, he was admitted to the bar at a New York City law firm. His career later ended when a stenographer said “I refuse to take dictation from a nigger.”
He soon after pursued a career in acting. He performed in many plays and concerts. He even moved to London to perform for the Queen of England. He performed the play Othello many times during his career. His play, Showboat, became a motion picture and he became the first African-American in a motion picture.
He traveled once to Russia to help with problems there. When he returned to America, he was immediately blacklisted and had his passport revoked. At the time, people thought he was a communist. If an employer hired a blacklisted person, the employer could be charged with treason.
This ended his acting career until a judge reinstated his passport. He preformed his last performance of Othello and soon after was hospitalized for collapsing. This started the chain of mental disorders that plagued him for the rest of his life. “After two strokes in less than a month, Paul Robeson, 77, dies in Philadelphia on January 23. At his funeral, 5,000 mourners listen to recorded spirituals, sung in Robeson’s rich baritone, as his closed casket is carried out of his brother Ben’s church into a cold Harlem rain.”
What Paul Robeson accomplished is different than what any scientist did. He paved the way for non-white people to get good jobs and good houses in good neighborhoods.
If a family of Polish immigrants came to America, they might think that life in America wasn’t at all easier than it was in Poland, until they heard about Paul Robeson. They would be inspired by his great feats of agility and his amazing singing and acting. So, they would be very inspired to try their hardest to get by in America.
Robeson inspired many people to try to get and get by. He inspired many people to do amazing things.
What I could do to change the social climate, would be to let people know, African-American people aren’t much different than White people or any ethnic groups. Sure, different people’s skin might be different colors or their hair might be different. Some others may have different backgrounds. Although, it seems like anyone who has read the story of Adam and Eve should now that we are all really the same.
Just because a person is black, all that means is that they have a different skin tone. So, the September 11th hijackers were of Middle Eastern descent, but that doesn’t mean that all Middle Eastern people are terrorists.
Robeson paved the way for many African-Americans to be what they are today. Michael Jordon, for instance, plays pro Basketball. Paul Robeson played college Basketball on the varsity team and got 4 sport letters for it. Paul Robeson went to Rutgers University during a point in history when blacks were hated by whites. Michael Jordan was probably inspired by Paul Robeson’s great triumphs.
Jessie Jackson speaks out about problems in the world. He has traveled to problem area of the world to fix those countries. Robeson went to Russia to ease tensions there. Jackson and Robeson were very similar people.
All of Paul Robeson’s plays were stellar. Same goes for Denzel Washington’s movies. Washington may have been inspired by Robeson.
Paul Robeson has changed the world somewhat. People look up to him. He has also changed the way people look at colored people.
Paul Robeson hasn’t really affected me at all. Sports and acting aren’t really “my things.” I, at this point in life, don’t really need much I the way of inspiration.
All of Paul Robeson’s accomplishments were amazing. A black man, in that time period, getting into college was a crazy thought, until Robeson did get into college. His accomplishments have shaped the way entertainment looks today.