Paul Robeson book based on oral histories

    Adminstrators of the Paul Robeson House in West Philadelphia have released a book attesting to the legacy of the actor and social activist. Stories From the Paul Robeson House: Lives Touched by a Renaissance Man is comprised of oral histories from people who are inspired by his tumultuous life.

    Administrators of the Paul Robeson House in West Philadelphia have released a book attesting to the legacy of the actor and social activist. Stories From the Paul Robeson House: Lives Touched by a Renaissance Man is comprised of oral histories from people who are inspired by his tumultuous life.
    Photo Credit: Isaac Maefield, WPCA artist-in-residence.

    Listen:
    [audio: 091020pcrobesonhouse.mp3]

    Paul Robeson was many things in his 77 years. He sang “Old Man River” in the musical “Show Boat”, and he faced down Senator McCarthy during the Red Scare communist hearings in 1956. He was not a registered communist, but he did strongly advocate socialist ideals.

    Retired Philadelphia schoolteacher Robert Cole knew Robeson in the 1970’s. Cole says at the end of his life Robeson preferred to be demure and anonymous.

    Cole: Sometimes it’s better that way. You know, after you’ve had a life like he had had, its’ time to just sort of be quiet and not have a lot of hubub around you. Don’t you think?

    But he did create hubub. During his funeral in Harlem in 1976, several thousand people came to pay their respects. The house he died in is now a museum.

    More information:
    For more on Paul Robeson and the Paul Robeson House in West Philadelphia visit the Paul Robeson’s Philadelphia Story webpage.

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