Paul Robeson: Artist and Citizen

Paul Robeson: Artist and Citizen

by Jeffrey Stewart, Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum, Paul Robeson Cultural Center, Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum
     
 

Paul Robeson: Artist and Citizen presents a kaleidoscope portrait of Paul Robeson(1898-1976), the All-American football player and Phi Beta Kappa Rutgers College graduate who became a world-renowned actor, singer, motion picture star, and America's first African American politically engaged performing artist. Coming to maturity during the Harlem Renaissance,… See more details below

Overview

Paul Robeson: Artist and Citizen presents a kaleidoscope portrait of Paul Robeson(1898-1976), the All-American football player and Phi Beta Kappa Rutgers College graduate who became a world-renowned actor, singer, 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 enduring roles in such movies as The Emperor Jones (1933), The Song of Freedom (1936), and 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 works and oppressed minorities on his travels around the world, and became on 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.

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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal - School Library Journal
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

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780813525105
Publisher:
Rutgers University Press
Publication date:
04/01/1998
Pages:
331
Product dimensions:
8.79(w) x 11.31(h) x 1.26(d)
Age Range:
10 Years

Read an Excerpt

Paul Robeson: Artist and Citizen presents a kaleidoscope portrait of Paul Robeson(1898-1976), the All-American football player and Phi Beta Kappa Rutgers College graduate who became a world-renowned actor, singer, 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 enduring roles in such movies as The Emperor Jones (1933), The Song of Freedom (1936), and 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 works and oppressed minorities on his travels around the world, and became on 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.

Paul Robeson: Artist and Citizen engages the reader in a discussion of the social, political, and cultural forces that made such a monumental man possible—forces that continue to exist today and which give his life great contemporary significance.
—From the back cover

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