Paul Robeson: A Life of Activism and Art

Paul Robeson: A Life of Activism and Art

by Lindsey R. Swindall


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Paul Robeson: A Life of Activism and Art is the biography of an African American icon and a demonstration of historian Lindsey R. Swindall's knack for thorough, detailed research and reflection. Paul Robeson was, at points in his life, an actor, singer, football player, political activist and writer, one of the most diversely talented members of the Harlem Renaissance. Swindall centers Robeson's story around the argument that while Robeson leaned toward Socialism, a Pan-African perspective is fundamental to understanding his life as an artist and political advocate. Many previous works on Robeson have focused primarily on his involvement with the US Communist Party, paying little attention to the broader African influences on his politics and art. With each chapter focused on a decade of his life, this book affords us a fresh look at his story, and the ways in which the struggles, successes and studies of his formative years came to shape him as an artist, activist and man later on. Robeson’s story is one not simply of politics and protest, but of a man’s lifelong evolution from an athlete to an entertainer to an indispensible man of letters and African American thought. Swindall neatly outlines the events of Robeson's life in a way that freshly presents him as a man whose work was influenced by more than just his circumstances, but by a spirit rooted in dedication to the African's place in American art and politics.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781442207943
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
Publication date: 09/15/2015
Series: Library of African American Biography Series
Pages: 212
Sales rank: 754,664
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Lindsey R. Swindall earned her doctorate in Afro-American Studies at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and is a teaching assistant professor in the College of Arts and Letters at Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, New Jersey. She has also written: The Politics of Paul Robeson's Othello and The Path to the Greater, Freer, Truer World: Southern Civil Rights and Anticolonialism, 1937-1955. She is co-editor of American Appetites: A Documentary Reader.

Table of Contents

Chapter One: Scholar Athlete
Chapter Two: Renaissance Man
Chapter Three: World Citizen
Chapter Four: People’s Artist
Chapter Five: Cold Warrior
Chapter Six: Final Curtain

What People are Saying About This

Paul Von Blum

Paul Robeson was America’s greatest Renaissance person, but he has yet to receive the full acclaim and recognition he deserves. Since his death in 1976, a major resurgence in scholarly attention has increased public attention to his accomplishments as an athlete, artist, and political and civil rights activist. A key figure in restoring Paul Robeson to his rightful historical place is Lindsey Swindall. Her earlier book, The Politics of Paul Robeson’s Othello, explored Robeson’s groundbreaking performances of Shakespeare’s magnificent tragedy in a powerful historical and political context. Now, in Paul Robeson: A Life of Activism and Art, she has broadened public understanding of Robeson’s entire life as an artist committed to fundamental social change. This book locates his extraordinary accomplishments in the tumultuous events of 20th century history, offering both academic and general readers a powerful vision of the man, his passionate social vision and commitments, and the times. It is a stellar achievement.

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