British mining, trade unionist Thomas Hepburn, singer Paul Robeson

This video says about itself:

21 March 2014

Paul Robeson, The Welsh Connection, born 1898 – died 1976

Paul Robeson was one of the greatest Americans, who was loved the world over and he captured the sympathy of the miners of Wales and lived in Britain during the 1930’s.

Performing concerts at Aberdare and Mountain Ash and exhibitions about his life and connections/attachments to Wales were set both in Cardiff and by The National Library of Wales.

Robeson association with South Wales dates from 1928 whilst performing in the hit musical Show Boat in London’s West End during which he met a group of unemployed miners and to provide support to their cause, he visited South Wales on numerous occasions from 1929 onward.

In particular he performed in 1938 in front of a live audience of over 7000 people to commemorate the 33 Welshmen who had given their lives during the civil war in Spain and told his audience: “I am here not only for me, but for the whole world. I feel it is my duty to be here” and at a reception given in his honour by the South Wales National Union of Miners he told his audience:

“You have shaped my life – I am part of the working class, of all the films I have made the one I will preserve is The Proud Valley.”

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Pioneering trade unionist Thomas Hepburn remembered

Monday 6th October 2014

MORE than 250 ex-miners and their supporters packed a parish church in Tyneside on Saturday to commemorate the death 150 years ago of pioneering socialist Thomas Hepburn.

Credited with founding mining trades unionism in the north-east, Hepburn lived from 1795 to 1864.

He went to work down Urpeth colliery at the age of eight in 1803 to support his family following his father’s death, and was later blacklisted for leading strikes.

The heroic figure of labour movement history is buried in the churchyard at St Mary’s, where a monument honours him.

Inside the Heworth church the walls were bedecked with more than a dozen banners from the union lodges of former Durham and Northumberland collieries.

Among them was the legendary Follonsby banner, one of the few pit union banners to bear a likeness of Lenin, a hammer and sickle, and red star.

Lingey House school choir sang movingly to commemorate Hepburn’s achievements, with the National Union of Mineworkers’ North East Brass Band also playing inside the church.

At close of ceremony wreaths were laid at Hepburn’s monument.

5 thoughts on “British mining, trade unionist Thomas Hepburn, singer Paul Robeson

  1. What a fascinating story. Another Welsh connection. We met a Welsh Plaid Cymru councillor while we were wandering round Dolgellau on Sunday. I told him I thought Shropshire should be part of Wales. It feels a more community-spirited, and democratic country somehow.


  2. Pingback: Paul Robeson, new film coming | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  3. Pingback: Paul Robeson, African-American anti-racist singer, new biography | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  4. Pingback: Paul Robeson, new book | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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