Paul Robeson: Artist and Citizen

ISBN 13: 9780813525112

Paul Robeson: Artist and Citizen

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9780813525112: Paul Robeson: Artist and Citizen
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Paul Robeson, the towering six-foot six athlete, orator, actor, singer, intellectual, and activist, was arguably one of the most simultaneously loved and loathed American personalities of the 20th century. This collection, edited by George Mason University professor Jeffrey Stewart to serve as a companion to a traveling exhibition marking the centennial anniversary of his birth on April 9, 1898, brings together 18 scholars and historians to the most detailed and balanced look at Robeson to date.

Francis C. Harris details Robeson's career as an multilettered athlete at Rutgers University, where he endured gang tackles, a dislocated shoulder, and a broken nose. In "Paul Robeson, Musician," Doris Evans McGinty and Wayne D. Shirley highlight the centrality of Negro spirituals and folk songs in Robeson's repertoire. Robeson biographer Martin Duberman chronicles the social and sexual implications of Robeson's portrayals of Shakespeare's Othello, while Charles Musser reveals the complexities of Robeson's friendship with playwright Eugene O'Neill as well as his difficulties with African American filmmaker Oscar Micheaux.

The entries dealing with Robeson's political activities show his courage to speak out against injustice and the price he paid for it. Lawyer-writer Derrick Bell examines Robeson's "small service" to the cause of African American justice. David Levering Lewis looks at Robeson's deep, albeit naive views on the Soviet Union, which dovetailed into his support of American workers, the subject of Mark D. Naison's contribution.

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From 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
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist:

To mark the centennial of the birth of athlete, singer, actor, and political activist Paul Robeson, a multimedia traveling exhibition will hit the road in New Jersey and travel to Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., and New York during 1998^-99. This compendium on the great man, edited by the exhibition's curator, will surely reach more American communities and perhaps make a deeper impression. Sixteen essays treat virtually every aspect of Robeson, including his love affair with Communism, with long overdue sympathy. Even with contributors including fiery law professor Derrick Bell, Robeson biographer Martin Duberman, columnist Julianne Malveaux, and the doyen of African American historians, John Hope Franklin, the good words don't overwhelm the 240 illustrations. Nor should they, for Robeson personified the word photogenic, and editor Stewart's essay on Robeson as an icon of physical beauty, especially in some 1920s photographic nudes, is one of the best in the book. A handsome, engrossing, fitting tribute. Ray Olson

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9780813525105: Paul Robeson: Artist and Citizen

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ISBN 10:  0813525101 ISBN 13:  9780813525105
Publisher: Rutgers University Press, 1998
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