Singer Paul Robeson, new book


Paul Robeson's legacy: Proud Valley

By Tayo Aluko in Britain:

Monday, March 18, 2019

Book Review: No Way But This: In search of Paul Robeson by Jeff Sparrow

Part travelogue, part biography, this is an engrossing account of the life and times of the great singer, actor and political activist

No Way But This
by Jeff Sparrow
(Scribe, £9.99)

IN NO Way But This, Jeff Sparrow recounts a personal pilgrimage from his native Australia to places around the world Paul Robeson visited, while assessing the impact his life continues to have today.

From Sydney — where Robeson’s career ended in 1960 — Sparrow continued via Greensboro and Williamston, North Carolina, where his father had been enslaved, to Robeson’s birthplace in Princeton, New Jersey, and Harlem, New York, where he lived most of his adult life.

He travelled on to to London, where Robeson lived and visited on-and-off for several decades and Wales, where his political education began. Thence to Spain, where Robeson and his wife Essie went during the Spanish civil war and finally to Moscow, scene of many Robeson triumphs and a spectacular mental breakdown.

This is a travel diary in which Sparrow lyrically recounts conversations he had, buildings he visited, streets he walked down and landscapes he traversed in his quest to understand Robeson’s thoughts, motivations, influences and legacies.

He meets BBC Wales’s Beverley Humphreys, who had organised a Robeson exhibition, talks to school children about what he had stood for and to now-elderly black Welsh people who fondly remember being child extras in the film Proud Valley in which Robeson starred.

No Way But This

Such personal reflections make this more an exploration of Robeson’s contemporary legacy than a biography. He draws on many existing Robeson biographies to both give the facts of Robeson’s life and as his travel guides as he set off on an itinerary that would allow for some spontaneity in the midst of whatever planning he had done.

He describes narrowly avoiding being forced to view the corpse of a black activist lying in state in Harlem just because that happened to be where the person that an academic suggested he interview was going that afternoon. The subsequent conversation was about the gentrification of Harlem and of the prison-industrial system, both of which illustrate a damning lack of progress made decades after Robeson.

Sparrow also went to Siberia to visit that embodiment of the horrors many experienced under Stalin — a gulag, now a museum, in Perm. There, the guide — whose family were among Stalin’s victims — photographs Sparrow behind bars before icily noting that those who didn’t want the museum to exist and instead “will approach a time when new repressions will come.”

Sparrow finally describes a visit to the Graveyard of Fallen Heroes in Moscow. Here, wandering among toppled statues of significant players in the Soviet project, he reflects on how far the world has fallen from those ideals and how new dictators will always replace old ones unless we remain mindful of those stories that the authorities seek to suppress.

Sparrow’s book is a very effective and compelling way of introducing Robeson to readers not so interested in conventional biographies. Yet the section misleadingly described as “further reading” is actually a bibliography, listing the author’s research sources, many of which had nothing at all to do with Robeson. This is exacerbated by an absence of footnotes and a wholly unsatisfactory reference section and several factual inaccuracies in the body of the book.

Such gripes aside, I greatly enjoyed No Way But This and admire Sparrow’s use of his and others’ personal perspectives to cast new light on this towering figure, whose long shadow can be perceived almost physically everywhere he went and beyond.

Tayo Aluko is the writer and performer of Call Mr Robeson – A Life, With Songs and of Just An Ordinary Lawyer. A fuller version of his review is available at Camden New Journal.

Paul Robeson, new book


This music video series from the USA is called Paul Robeson Playlist.

By Sue Turner in Britain:

Search for the inspirational figure of Paul Robeson pays dividends

Saturday 19th August 2017

No Way But This: In Search of Paul Robeson

by Jeff Sparrow

(Scribe, £14.99)

THE LIFE of Paul Robeson mirrors 20th-century struggles for black liberation, workers’ rights and international socialism and Jeff Sparrow’s biography — which he describes as unconventional — attempts to bring these past campaigns into the present.

The aim is to to inspire and inform a new generation for whom Robeson is largely unknown and to do that Sparrow travelled the world in Robeson’s footsteps, talking to people who knew or were influenced by him and those engaged in current political struggles.

Robeson’s life was astonishing by any standards. The son of an escaped slave, he was a brilliant scholar and champion athlete. Driven by his father’s insistence that self-improvement would make him a role model for other black people in the US, Robeson later rejected this individualistic approach to effecting social change as it ignored the systemic reasons for the position of black Americans.

Having abandoned a career in law, and becoming the most famous black actor and singer of his time, he began to speak out as an advocate for social justice around the world, supporting the struggles of the south Wales miners and the republican cause in the Spanish civil war.

The labour movement in Britain was a revelation for Robeson because of its solidarity and collective nature and it gave him a greater understanding of the link between the struggles for African-American and workers’ rights.

“It’s from the miners in Wales I first understood the struggle of negro and white together,” he said and the Spanish civil war was as inspirational: “The true artist cannot hold himself aloof… the artist must take sides. He must elect to fight for freedom or slavery. I have made my choice. I have no alternative.”

This stance led him to deliver speeches and fundraising concerts as well as singing for the International Brigades on the battlefield.

Visits to the USSR from 1934 onwards led to a lifelong and unwavering commitment to Soviet socialism, support acceptable in the US during WWII, and he worked tirelessly to defeat fascism, hoping that the liberation of oppressed people everywhere would follow. After the war, with changing US perceptions of the Soviet Union and the rise of McCarthyism, Robeson’s career ended.

Radio stations would not play his songs, nor cinemas show his films and he could not record music nor perform live. His passport applications were rejected for 10 years and his status and popularity made him too dangerous to have a voice at home or abroad.

This witch-hunt culminated in an appearance before The Unamerican Activities Committee in 1956.

When asked if he was a member of the Communist Party, Robeson replied: “What do you mean by the Communist Party? It is a legal party… do you mean a party of people who have sacrificed for my people, and for all Americans and workers, that they can live in dignity?”

Eventually his career did revive and his political commitment remained intact. He never recanted and never retreated.

Sparrow has eloquently portrayed Robeson as a giant of a man who was prepared to kill off his career for his political beliefs. He emphasises that past struggles should inform today’s — we need not just inspiration to act but affiliation to organise and solidarity to withstand.

While Sparrow’s ruminations on his travels can be lengthy and he states his own political views very clearly, this book is nevertheless an interesting introduction. But Paul Robeson Speaks — his writings, speeches and interviews, collected by Philip Foner — and Here I Stand, Robeson’s own memoir, give a fuller insight into this remarkable activist.

Wales and the giant! Over many years a special, enduring bond of solidarity and shared political aspirations developed between Paul Robeson and Wales and in particular Welsh miners: here.

Paul Robeson died 41 years ago


This video says about itself:

24 January 2017

Paul Robeson was an African-American singer and actor who was an active member in the anti-imperialist struggle.

He passed away 41 years ago today.

WHAT THE LEFT TODAY CAN LEARN FROM PAUL ROBESON, 2.27.2017: here.

Paul Robeson, African-American anti-racist singer, new biography


This video from the USA says about itself:

The Tallest Tree: Paul Robeson, Part 1

22 May 2016

The life of Paul Robeson, a black actor with universal talent and appeal. Languages, Law, Sports, Singer, Movie Star and Activist.

This video is the sequel.

By Tom Sibley in Britain:

The tallest tree in the forest

Monday 24th October 2016

Gerald Horne’s excellent account of the towering legend that is Paul Robeson tells the story of a performer and activist who supported many progressive causes and the struugle for a new world order, says TOM SIBLEY

Paul Robeson: The Artist as Revolutionary
by Gerald Horne
(Pluto Press, £12.99)

THE AFRO-AMERICAN polymath Paul Robeson (1898-1976) was the son of a slave who, as a young man, was a brilliant athlete and an outstanding student with a degree in law.

By the 1930s, he had become an internationally known concert-hall performer whose deep bass baritone voice was recognised and revered across every continent.

He played Othello on the London stage and Broadway to critical acclaim.

He was the leading man in six major films including How Proud Was Our Valley, the story of the Welsh miners’ fight for jobs and communities in the 1930s.

He went to Spain in support of the republican government and the International Brigades in their struggle against international fascist military aggression.

And, above all else, he campaigned for his own people — black Afro-Americans so often denied civil rights, persecuted and always super-exploited by big business and the state.

Robeson explained his motivation when speaking to a packed Albert Hall on returning from Spain. “Every artist, every socialist must decide now where he stands… every artist must elect to fight for freedom or slavery.”

As Horne reminds us, Robeson chose to fight for freedom. While referring to the slave trade, he explained to his London audience that “the history of the capitalist era is characterised by the degradation of my people.”

In this period, and up to the deepening of the cold war in the 1950s, Robeson was indeed the “tallest tree in the forest.”

But, as Horne points out, he was not the only outstanding civil rights leader.

He was supported through good times and bad by leading figures in the movement, particularly Ben Davis and William Patterson, Communist Party leaders from the Afro-American community who were the two most foremost influences on Robeson’s political thinking and activity.

By the early 1950s, the cold war had really kicked in and Robeson became one of its first victims. His increase in attacks on institutionalised racism — Jim Crowism — together with his strongly expressed admiration for the Soviet Union were too much for the US authorities to bear.

When Robeson linked racism, imperialism, capitalism and colonialism with the threats that they posed to world peace and human survival, the ruling class took steps to shut him up.

His passport was confiscated on the grounds that his criticisms of the maltreatment of Afro-Americans should not be aired outside of the United States. Robeson was not to get his passport back for eight years.

Throughout the 1950s, Robeson faced constant harassment from the CIA, FBI and the McCarthyite House Committee on Un-American activities, before which he appeared on three occasions.

While Robeson retained his political integrity and refused to make concessions to nationalism and anti-Sovietism, the unrelenting attacks by the state and the media took their toll.

His opportunities to campaign were severely limited as many black organisations and most of the labour movement, consumed by cold war anti-communism, broke their links with Robeson.

Perhaps more importantly, his health was badly affected as his isolation from the mass movement became more marked.

And doubts grew in his mind about developments in the Soviet Union, particularly those related to anti-semitism and repression of political opponents by party and state.

He found it increasingly difficult in these circumstances to recover from a range of ailments.

Yet, through all this, Robeson remained loyal to the working-class and anti-racist movements, at home and abroad.

He was a socialist and internationalist to the end of his days and, as Horne emphasises, you cannot understand the successes achieved by the civil rights movement in the US during the 1970s and 1980s without an understanding of Robeson’s life.

He truly was the precursor of Martin Luther King and Malcolm X, as both leaders came to accept the class basis of racism in their later years.

The mass civil-rights movement which emerged in these years owes much to Robeson’s work in the previous four decades.

The exhibition Paul Robeson: Black Star, exploring his status as one of the most important film stars of the 1930s and 1940s, runs at the BFI Southbank in London until October 31, details: bfi.org.uk

Paul Robeson 40 years dead.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=puOIdh944vk

This video from the USA is called Paul Robeson: On colonialism, African-American rights (Spotlight, ABC,1960).

Birmingham Clarion Singers

90933644-Page_Headers_Spring16_PRobeson

Presented by Tayo Aluko & Friends

Paul Robeson, the great African American actor, singer and political activist died on January 23, 1976. 40 years to the day, Tayo Aluko, writer and performer of the award-winning, internationally touring monodrama Call Mr. Robeson presents a concert in tribute to Mr. Robeson. Featuring the Liverpool Socialist Singers and the Birmingham Clarion Singers (Robeson was their Honorary President and Tayo Aluko is the current one!.)

This production will be based at The Quaker Meeting House, just ten minutes walk from Unity by the Blue Coat School

Dates: Sat 23 Jan 2016
Time: 7:30pm

Prices:  £8adult | £6 concession

More details here.

View original post

Paul Robeson, new film coming


From the Stop the War Coalition in Britain:

Tony Benn, President of Stop the War Coalition: “There are many songs I would like to choose but Joe Hill sung by Paul Robeson would be among the top two. It says it all.”

Lyrics are here.

This video says about itself:

20 November 2014

Director Steve McQueen, who made last year’s Best Picture-winning 12 Years a Slave, has revealed that his next film will be a biopic about the black American actor-and-singer Paul Robeson.

By John Wight in Britain:

Life lived for a cause greater than himself

Saturday 6th December 2014

News that British Oscar-winning director Steve McQueen is to make a biopic of Paul Robeson causes JOHN WIGHT to reflect on a figure whose commitment to the plight of the common man — regardless of race, creed or nationality — has left an unsurpassable legacy

ONE of my most treasured possessions is a book of the writings and speeches of Paul Robeson.

It charts his remarkable life from the post-WWI years, when he first came to prominence as a student at the prestigious Rutgers University, excelling in college football as the only black player on the team, and first demonstrated his prodigious talent as an actor and singer.

The son of an escaped slave, this alone signalled the remarkable drive and self-belief he would exude throughout his life.

The book moves on to the 1920s when, after a brief flirtation with a law career, Robeson entered the world of show business, finding international fame on Broadway by the end of that decade.

But he spent most of the ’30s in London, where he embarked on a career in films, playing a succession of African characters that in their depiction of servility and racial stereotyping he would later consider an insult to his people.

It was during this period in England that he experienced the political, racial and social awakening that would define the rest of his life and legacy. In particular, he forged an undying bond and affinity with the Welsh miners, identifying with their struggle and proud musical cultural tradition, one he associated with his own people in the United States.

By the 1940s Paul Robeson was a passionate anti-fascist and anti-colonialist who, having visited the Soviet Union, returned an unapologetic supporter and sympathiser with the socialist state. …

The singer and by now political activist had visited Spain during the civil war, where he toured the country singing to the anti-fascist Republican troops and volunteers to raise their morale. Like many within the artistic community in the US and throughout Europe, Robeson considered fascism to be the common enemy of mankind.

Indeed during the second world war he extended himself in touring war plants and factories throughout the US giving concerts and speeches in support of the war effort.

He combined this with regular appearances onstage, winning rave notices for his portrayal of Shakespeare’s Othello in particular. Touring with the play, he refused to appear in Southern states in venues where segregation was in force. In a 1942 speech to a mixed audience of blacks and whites in New Orleans, he said: “Nothing the future brings can defeat a people who have come through three hundred years of slavery and humiliation and privation with heads high and eyes clear and straight.”

Running through him too was a fierce class consciousness, fuelling a consistent message of unity among workers across the racial divide. In 1945 he reminded delegates at the annual convention of the International Longshoreman’s and Warehouseman’s Union of “the necessity of complete unity of all groups in our country.”

After the second world war Robeson found himself under attack from the political and media establishment in the US for his refusal to renege on his support for and solidarity with the Soviet Union. If anything, he raised his voice even louder when it came to articulating his refusal to bow to the huge pressure to conform to the new wave of anti-Soviet hysteria as the cold war got underway.

His appearance at the 1949 Paris Peace Conference resulted in a firestorm of criticism in the US press after giving a speech in which he was reported to have said: “It is unthinkable that American Negros would go to war on behalf of those who have oppressed us for generations against the Soviet Union, which in one generation has lifted our people to full human dignity.”

Despite claiming that his words were distorted by the US press, he was hung out to dry, depicted as a traitor and a dangerous subversive. When a reporter asked him about a story claiming that during a recent visit to Moscow he said that he loved Russia more than any other country, he replied: “What I said was that I love the America of which I am a part. I don’t love the America of Wall Street. I love the America of the working class. I love the working class of England and France and other countries. …”

It was now that Robeson was deserted and abandoned by former friends and allies in his home country as a campaign of demonisation succeeded in uniting right and left against him. He was a major target of the McCarthyite anti-communist witch-hunts of the 1950s. But even so he remained defiant. “The big lie is the fairy tale that the American people are somehow threatened by communism,” he wrote in 1954.

Rather than slow him down, the pressure he was under merely served to increase his determination to keep fighting for the causes he believed in. Robeson continued to raise his voice and speak throughout the US in solidarity with workers in struggle, with poor blacks suffering the degradation and humiliation of racist segregation, in solidarity with the Vietnamese struggle against French colonialism, against apartheid in South Africa, and for peaceful co-existence with the Soviet Union and the Eastern bloc.

Increasingly, the State Department began taking steps to silence him. In order to prevent him travelling overseas his passport was revoked.

Thereafter scheduled television appearances and concerts were cancelled and over five years from 1950-55 repeated applications for a passport to enable him to travel out of the US to make a living were denied by the US Passport Office. When in 1955 he appealed to the Supreme Court to have his passport reinstated, the judge presiding over the case implied that one may be issued to him if he agreed to sign a “non-communist oath.” Robeson refused.

During this period his career as a singer and performer dried up and with it his income, which plunged from $150,000 to $3,000 per year.

Finally, supported by an international campaign, Robeson was allowed to leave the US in 1958, embarking on an international itinerary which took him to London and then on to eastern Europe, where he was accorded a hero’s welcome. Appearing at a miners’ gala in Edinburgh to celebrate May Day in 1960, he told his audience: “My people were hewers of wood and drawers of water all over the Western world. Today on the continent of my forefathers, we are saying it is time for us to live a new life, time to be free.”

Though the 1960s marked a steady decline in his health, by its end the anathematisation he had suffered over many years gave way to a new appreciation of his life and convictions.

In 1971 his 1958 autobiography Here I Stand was reissued to critical and literary acclaim and in two years later a Salute to Paul Robeson concert was held at a sold-out Carnegie Hall in New York to celebrate his 75th birthday. Upon his death in January 1976, 5,000 people attended his funeral in Harlem.

What to make of such a rich life and how to begin to condense it into a film? Perhaps it is best to begin with its meaning, which in the case of Paul Robeson is surely that it is not what a man wins or gains that is the true mark of his success but what he is willing to sacrifice for a cause greater than himself.

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.

African American singer Paul Robeson and Wales


This music video from the USA is called Paul Robeson, “Joe Hill”. Lyrics are here.

By Hywel Francis in Wales:

Thursday 1st May 2014

Dr Hywel Francis, founding chair of the Paul Robeson Wales Trust, pays tribute to the lasting legacy of Paul Robeson Jr

“I have known Paul Robeson Jr for nearly 40 years. It was with great sadness that I received the news from Paul Robeson Jr’s wife Marilyn at the weekend that he had died in Jersey City, US, aged 86.

The son of the great singer and black civil rights and peace champion Paul Robeson, Robeson Jr was very proud of his father’s lifelong campaigning for progressive and cultural causes, including his links with Wales and especially the south Wales miners.

A qualified electrical engineer, writer, lecturer and Russian translator, he wrote the definitive two-volume biography The Undiscovered Paul Robeson, published in 2001 and again in 2010.

He spent much of his adult life working to preserve his father’s proud legacy by establishing such bodies as the Paul Robeson Foundation and the Paul Robeson Archive.

I organised several British lecture tours for Robeson Jr over a 20-year period. In that time, we worked together with Beverley Humphreys to establish the Paul Robeson Wales Trust and organised a major travelling exhibition Let Paul Robeson Sing which was funded by the Welsh and British governments and designed by Phil Cope.

The exhibition told the life story of Robeson, the son of an escaped Afro-American slave, who became a lawyer and world singing and acting star of stage and screen.

Robeson Jr shared his father’s long association with the south Wales miners. Paul Sr sang at the memorial to the Welshmen who died defending democracy in the Spanish civil war and identified with the plight of unemployed Welsh mining communities in the 1930s.

In turn the south Wales miners’ union supported him in the post-war period when he was persecuted by McCarthyism in the US when he was prevented from travelling abroad.

It was his son who arranged a transatlantic telephone link to the miners’ Eisteddfod in Porthcawl in 1957 so that his father could sing directly to the gathering, having been denied the opportunity to travel.

Robeson Jr invited the Onllwyn Male Voice Choir to sing at New York’s Carnegie Hall in 1998 at his father’s centenary concert. He became a vice-president of the choir.

In 2008 he spoke at the National Assembly’s Senedd Building in Cardiff Bay on the 60th anniversary of Aneurin Bevan’s NHS.

Also in 2008 he was awarded an honorary fellowship of Swansea University in recognition of his work in maintaining the cultural, educational and progressive links between Wales and the US.

I was especially pleased that he took a keen interest in school children in my Aberavon constituency, explaining as he did the importance of racial equality to them.

On two memorable occasions he addressed groups of children at the Civic Centre in Port Talbot and visited Crymlyn Burrows Primary School.

His daughter represented his family at the Ebbw Vale National Eisteddfod in 2010. Her grandfather had attended the Eisteddfod there in 1958.

Paul Robeson Jr’s funeral will take place in Harlem tomorrow.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Eslanda, Paul Robeson’s wife, new biography


This music video from the USA says about itself:

Paul Robeson, “Joe Hill”

Robeson singing the famous labor ballad with photo overlay.

This video from the USA says about itself:

Feb 12, 2013

DemocracyNow.org – In a Black History Month special, we remember the lives of the legendary civil rights activist, singer and actor Paul Robeson, and his wife Eslanda, whose story is not as well known. One of the most celebrated singers and actors of the 20th century, Robeson was attacked, blacklisted and hounded by the government for his political beliefs. Eslanda Robeson, known by her friends as “Essie,” was an author, an anthropologist and and a globally connected activist who worked to end colonialism in Africa, and racism in the United States. We’re joined by historian Barbara Ransby, author of the new biography, “Eslanda: The Large and Unconventional Life of Mrs. Paul Robeson.”

By Chris Searle in Britain:

Eslanda: The Large And Unconventional Life Of Mrs Paul Robeson

by Barbara Ransby (Yale University Press, £25)

Sunday 24 March 2013

She was a remarkable woman who for over four decades existed in the huge shadow of her renowned and world-acclaimed husband. But her own life was still one of independent cultural and political achievement.

Eslanda “Essie” Robeson, born in Washington DC in 1895, grew up in black middle-class circumstances with her formidable single mother and trained as a teacher, living in Harlem during its black renaissance period.

She married Paul Robeson in 1921.

In this powerfully engaging biography, Barbara Ransby tells how Essie prompted her husband towards his life as a singer and actor from unpromising beginnings as a New York lawyer.

But she also pursued her own life as an influential journalist and a relentless advocate for the rights of all women. A fearless anti-colonialist and activist scholar – particularly with regard to the unshackling of Africa – she was too a tireless anti-fascist and anti-racist against nazism and Francoism as well as Jim Crow racism in her own country.

She described her 1938 visit to the front line of the Spanish civil war in support of Republican troops as a “a major turning point in my life” and she was a long-time defender of socialism in any part of the world where it gave hope and promise.

After her lengthy visit in 1946 to the Congo, then still a Belgian colony, M15 labelled her as “a dangerous customer” and in the 1950s she repeatedly withstood the assaults of McCarthyism with courage and fortitude.

“The death moans of colonialism can be heard around the world mingled with the cries for self-government and independence and the shouts for peace and freedom,” she declared in a 1955 essay on the role of the emergent United Nations, with which she worked with dedication during its early years.

Ransby’s skilled word portraiture makes Essie come to life as a real human being, with compelling accounts of her emotional turbulence with her husband, her diverse friendships, her fight against illness and her determination to make her own contribution to the collective struggles and progress of her age.

It is a moving and deeply instructive life story of a woman who helped to lay massive political foundations and who became an inspiration and exemplar to many who came after.

Paul Robeson sings Joe Hill


From the Stop the War Coalition in Britain:

Tony Benn, President of Stop the War Coalition: “There are many songs I would like to choose but Joe Hill sung by Paul Robeson would be among the top two. It says it all.”

Lyrics are here.

About Joe Hill: here.

Remembering Paul Robeson 60 Years after the Peekskill Riots: here.

Enhanced by Zemanta