Paul Robeson (1898-1976), the celebrated concert singer, path-breaking actor, and dedicated social justice activist, made famous the African American spiritual “Let My People Go.” Throughout the 1920s, Robeson found success as a singer and film and stage actor. He refused to be cast in the stereotypical and often offensive minor parts many other African American actors at the time found themselves playing, and his success paved the way for other black actors. Robeson was also an outspoken advocate for oppressed groups, including Jews in Europe and anti-fascists in Spain. During the Cold War, the House Un-American Activities Committee named him a communist, which blacklisted him in Hollywood and effectively ended his acting and musical career. Though Robeson denied that he was ever a member of the Community Party, he refused to sign an oath disavowing the political movement.
How to cite this page
Jewish Women's Archive. "Paul Robeson." (Viewed on September 25, 2021) <https://jwa.org/node/12144>.