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Stories about Paul Robeson

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hilda fish 23 Jan 05 - 05:43 AM
freda underhill 23 Jan 05 - 07:30 AM
GUEST,Com Seangan 23 Jan 05 - 07:37 AM
GUEST,JH 23 Jan 05 - 07:58 AM
freda underhill 23 Jan 05 - 08:11 AM
Teresa 23 Jan 05 - 03:21 PM
Teresa 23 Jan 05 - 03:46 PM
Pauline L 23 Jan 05 - 07:14 PM
GUEST,Guest 23 Jan 05 - 07:40 PM
Pauline L 23 Jan 05 - 07:57 PM
Amos 23 Jan 05 - 08:07 PM
GUEST,ragdall 23 Jan 05 - 08:16 PM
Folkie101 23 Jan 05 - 09:44 PM
Donuel 23 Jan 05 - 10:19 PM
open mike 24 Jan 05 - 01:23 AM
Pauline L 24 Jan 05 - 03:09 AM
hilda fish 24 Jan 05 - 03:11 AM
Mark Cohen 24 Jan 05 - 04:00 AM
GUEST,Raggytash 24 Jan 05 - 04:27 AM
GUEST,Raggytash 24 Jan 05 - 04:42 AM
GUEST,andymac (cookieless just now..) 24 Jan 05 - 12:30 PM
Weasel Books 24 Jan 05 - 03:10 PM
Fliss 24 Jan 05 - 06:48 PM
GUEST 24 Jan 05 - 09:11 PM
Pauline L 25 Jan 05 - 02:27 AM
Kaleea 25 Jan 05 - 03:13 AM
GUEST,John in Brisbane 25 Jan 05 - 08:09 AM
GUEST,Roger the skiffler via the backdoor 25 Jan 05 - 09:25 AM
Pauline L 25 Jan 05 - 01:09 PM
LadyJean 26 Jan 05 - 01:24 AM
Fliss 26 Jan 05 - 03:54 PM
GUEST,Frank 26 Jan 05 - 06:09 PM
Susanne (skw) 26 Jan 05 - 06:37 PM
hilda fish 26 Jan 05 - 06:42 PM
richd 26 Jan 05 - 06:54 PM
GUEST 26 Jan 05 - 08:35 PM
GUEST,Folkiefrank 26 Jan 05 - 08:49 PM
Pauline L 26 Jan 05 - 10:25 PM
GUEST,RichD (in Work) 27 Jan 05 - 12:03 PM
GUEST,Larry K 27 Jan 05 - 01:11 PM
Weasel Books 27 Jan 05 - 01:19 PM
Pauline L 27 Jan 05 - 01:57 PM
Donuel 27 Jan 05 - 08:34 PM
Bill Hahn//\\ 27 Jan 05 - 10:34 PM
Pauline L 28 Jan 05 - 01:24 AM
GUEST,Richd 28 Jan 05 - 09:25 AM
GUEST 28 Jan 05 - 09:48 PM
GUEST,folkiefrank 28 Jan 05 - 09:56 PM
GUEST,folkiefrank 28 Jan 05 - 10:16 PM
GUEST,ragdall 28 Jan 05 - 10:56 PM
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Subject: BS: Stories about Paul Robeson
From: hilda fish
Date: 23 Jan 05 - 05:43 AM

I saw a thing on television last night about Paul Robson and I remember my mother telling me she had met him and that he had sung in the old black theatre in Redfern which at the time wasn't a 'theatre' but a place where homeless, alcoholic and so on Aboriginal people used to doss down. It was an old and very ratty building. And the famous Paul Robson went there and sang to these people! A friend told me recently how he heard Paul Robson singing to a whole lot of workmen in the dug out ditch which was later to become the Sydney Opera House. He said it was amazing - all the workers who had never heard of him, and there he was singing his heart out to them. The whole worksite stopped apparently and was so still that Paul Robson's voice could be heard clearly right across the site, which was massive. For my friend it was one of the most memorable experiences of his life. Even knowing these stories I had no idea that he was so politically active, and so brave, until this documentary I saw last night. Ås a singer he was awesome, but as a human being he now seems to me to be beyond magnificent. Anyone got any more stories about this wonderful singer?


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Subject: RE: BS: Stories about Paul Robeson
From: freda underhill
Date: 23 Jan 05 - 07:30 AM

hi Hilda

Paul Robeson sang at the Sydney Opera House in November 1960. He was invited there by the builders working on the site (the Building Workers Industrial Union - BWIU). They said they wanted him to be the first person to sing in the Opera House, so he sang under the skeletal roof that was up, to the building workers. They gave him a hard hat with "PAUL" printed on it, and he put it on and sang Joe Hill and other songs. sydney opera house


fred

ps i used to work for the BWIU in the late 80s as a cartoonist/illustrator for their newspaper!


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Subject: RE: BS: Stories about Paul Robeson
From: GUEST,Com Seangan
Date: 23 Jan 05 - 07:37 AM

We all love Paul Robeson. But don't forget the campaign of hate that was waged against him in the US on account of his alleged Communist leanings. Christopher Lynch (who had toured with him) told me of the organised protest with picket when they arrived for a concert at San Francisco.

They performed to a near empty hall.


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Subject: RE: BS: Stories about Paul Robeson
From: GUEST,JH
Date: 23 Jan 05 - 07:58 AM

here's an interesting link


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Subject: RE: BS: Stories about Paul Robeson
From: freda underhill
Date: 23 Jan 05 - 08:11 AM

Here is another link on Paul Robeson

McCarthyism is till well and truly alive, when the hoary past of Stalin is quoted againbst a black trade unionist who fought for civil rights.

Tolpuddle is not a Russian word.


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Subject: RE: BS: Stories about Paul Robeson
From: Teresa
Date: 23 Jan 05 - 03:21 PM

"Tolpuddle is not a Russian word."

Absolutely right :)

I'm amazed that more people don't know about Paul. I first heard about him in 1982, when the Pacifica Network station KPFK in Los Angeles did a documentary on him. I think it was an all-night special, because I remember staying awake in bed all night, hoping my mom wouldn't pop in and make me turn my radio off (I had headphones on). Anyhow, I'm glad I learned more about him.

I love the way he sang in languages other than English, and just recently I heard about his fascination with the singing of Welsh miners.

teresa


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Subject: RE: BS: Stories about Paul Robeson
From: Teresa
Date: 23 Jan 05 - 03:46 PM

That New Politics link was interesting. I have to say I agree ... Stalin killed millions of people, and did not represent what most wanted in terms of human rights.

Teresa


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Subject: RE: BS: Stories about Paul Robeson
From: Pauline L
Date: 23 Jan 05 - 07:14 PM

Let's get the facts straight. Paul Robeson was an avowed Communist. He praised the Soviet Union highly and moved there for a while. Nevertheless, a hate campaign was waged against him long before this because he was seen as such a threat. McCarthyism is wrong and Robeson was great.


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Subject: RE: BS: Stories about Paul Robeson
From: GUEST,Guest
Date: 23 Jan 05 - 07:40 PM

Robeson moved to the Soviet Union because he was treated as a man there.


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Subject: RE: BS: Stories about Paul Robeson
From: Pauline L
Date: 23 Jan 05 - 07:57 PM

I liked what I read on the www.cr.nps.gov website about Paul Robeson and I'd like to add some more.

Paul Robeson was the first African American to be admitted to [some august institution] of college football players. Among his adversaries were his own white teammates, who stampeded and nearly pulverized him. He recovered from severe injuries and came back fighting.

The Dean of Admissions just had to see him in the flesh because he couldn't believe that any n**** could be so smart. He decided that some great intellectual slave owner must have been one of Robeson's ancestors.

He was graduated from law school and went to work for a law firm, where he was only allowed to do research for cases that other attorneys would argue. His firm didn't want to lose cases because of his color. When a white female secretary refused to take dictation from him because he was black, he quit the job.

He broke another barrier by demonstrating that a Negro (the respectful term at the time) could be a serious actor. He is especially well known for his role in Shakespeare's Othello. I have a recording of him delivering his last speech before committing suicide in the play. He was awesome.

Robeson was among the first African Americans to play in many movies. This part of his career is controversial among more recent African American activists because he generally played the role of a simple, intellectually unsophisticated, trusting, almost child-like person, a racial stereotype of that era.

He was harrassed violently and cruelly by the FBI. So devoted were his followers, that some of them would lie down on top of him on the floor of a car to protect him from bullets from the FBI, KKK, and others.

One night, while he was performing live in a theatre to which African Americans were not admitted, he thought better of it, walked out, and never played in segregated theatres again.

When he was not allowed to give a performance in the U.S., he held a concert at the US-Canadian border. He stood on the Canadian side and sang to a large audience on the American side.

He was a fan of Russian Communism and moved to the USSR for a while towards the end of his life. He also suffered what appear to have been several nervous breakdowns around the same time.

The leaders of the Civil Rights movement in the 50s and 60s did not want his help.

He married as a young man but lived apart from his wife, who was African American, most of their lives. He was a star who had many groupies, and, after a certain age, all of his lovers were white women. His wife took care of him in his old age.

I consider myself fortunate that both my parents were big fans of Paul Robeson, and I grew up listening to his recordings, some of which I still have, and also to inspired and respectful stories about him. So many people of my generation know him only for "Old Man River," if at all. That's why I've written this long post about him. He was a great man and a courageous pioneer in many ways, and I want him to be remembered as such.


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Subject: RE: BS: Stories about Paul Robeson
From: Amos
Date: 23 Jan 05 - 08:07 PM

Thanks to you all for contributing to such a vivid picture of him. Clearly a courageous man who thought for himself, for better or for worse.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Stories about Paul Robeson
From: GUEST,ragdall
Date: 23 Jan 05 - 08:16 PM

Pauline L,
I also consider myself fortunate to have grown up in a home in which Paul Robeson's recordings, (which I still have and treasure), were played. I heard at length of the injustices which Paul faced. Paul was an inspiration to us.

This is a quote from NationMaster.com:
Although Robeson is one of the "Great Forerunners" in Black equality, the McCarthy era virtually erased his memory from the consciousness of younger Americans. He was conversant in over 20 languages, and at one time carried enough clout to be considered for a vice presidential spot on Henry A. Wallace's 1948 ticket. His singing voice was a sonorous bass-baritone once described thus: "If God should come to earth and sing, He would sound something like Paul Robeson."


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Subject: RE: BS: Stories about Paul Robeson
From: Folkie101
Date: 23 Jan 05 - 09:44 PM

What an inspiring and moving thread. I think I'll put on one of Mr. Robeson's recordings.

Folkie


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Subject: RE: BS: Stories about Paul Robeson
From: Donuel
Date: 23 Jan 05 - 10:19 PM

He was my parents hero. I never got to hear him live.
If you saw the same documentary as I, you may see how he was poisoned in much the same way that Ushenko was.


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Subject: RE: Stories about Paul Robeson
From: open mike
Date: 24 Jan 05 - 01:23 AM

JOHN MCCUTCHEON always introduces Joe Hill with a story about Paul Robeson, and how one fan of his (John's) requested he sing that song because he remembered Paul singing it at the Sydney Opera House. According to John, Paul introduced the song by saying to the (union) workers at the construction site that one day they would hear that so-and-so famous architect, or builder or investor built the hall, but they would know the truth that their labors built it!


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Subject: RE: Stories about Paul Robeson
From: Pauline L
Date: 24 Jan 05 - 03:09 AM

Donuel, I'm not familiar with that documentary. Would you tell us something about it?


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Subject: RE: Stories about Paul Robeson
From: hilda fish
Date: 24 Jan 05 - 03:11 AM

Also thankyou from me. How inspiring to hear how incredible this man was and how wonderful that he continued to give his skills to his fellow human beings despite the dreadul persecution he clearly went through. It's been really great reading all these posts and confirmed that this is a truly great man.


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Subject: RE: Stories about Paul Robeson
From: Mark Cohen
Date: 24 Jan 05 - 04:00 AM

My friend Susan Robeson, Paul Robeson's granddaughter, wrote a memoir about him in 1981. It's called The Whole World in His Hands: Paul Robeson, a Family Memoir in Words and Pictures. (The reviewer on amazon.com mistakenly describes Susan as his daughter.) Worth looking at for anyone interested in his life and work.

Aloha,
Mark


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Subject: RE: Stories about Paul Robeson
From: GUEST,Raggytash
Date: 24 Jan 05 - 04:27 AM

Pauline L .......... let's get fact straight ......... I have read two biographies about Paul Robeson and in neither was it stated with such certainty as you do that he was "an avowed communist". He may have had sympathies with Communist theory but as far as I am aware was never a member of the Party.

My father twice took my elder brother to see Paul at the free Trade Hall in manchester, late 50's/ early sixties, such was demand that seats were put on the stage. My father told me that Paul on the second occasion recognised my brother (who was very young at the time)from his first visit and spoke to him at during the preformance and signed autographs, now sadly lost

Just this morning before logging on I got my guitar out and sand "Just a wearyin' for you" to myself, still singing the man's music after all these years


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Subject: RE: Stories about Paul Robeson
From: GUEST,Raggytash
Date: 24 Jan 05 - 04:42 AM

Just one more thing Pauline, you state that Robeson lived in the Soviet Union "for a while". Whilst he travelled there to perform and his son Paul Jr attended school there for a while I cannot recall ever reading that Robeson himself lived there. Would you be kind enough to state your sources for the statements you are making, I should be interested to read them and gain a fuller knowledge of Paul Robeson life

Thanks

Raggy


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Subject: RE: Stories about Paul Robeson
From: GUEST,andymac (cookieless just now..)
Date: 24 Jan 05 - 12:30 PM

I was one of those who only knew of him from the singing of "Old man River" until I got involved in the Glasgow folk scene.
I was told this story by Danny Kyle, sadly dead a few years now but he told of Paul robeson being booked to do a concert at Glasgow City Halls but at around that time his passport had been revoked, debarring him from leaving the US. There was an obscure American radio station which somehow set up a Transatlantic hook-up and the show was broadcast live to a packed hall (capacity c. 2000, I think) and all that was on stage were some speakers... Never found out if it was true or apocryphal...
I've also been told of him playing in Glasgow Bellahouston park, once he was free to travel again, to some 50,000 people and have seen the photos.

To add to the sense of continuity, I was working a couple of years ago with a girl in her early 20s, who was a huge fan of him, because as she was growing up, her mother had played him on old, now treasured and very worn, cassettes. She in turn pointed me to a recording by the Manic Street Preachers (who said peolitical song isn't popular?) entitled "Let Robeson Sing" No prizes for guessing the context....

Andy


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Subject: RE: Stories about Paul Robeson
From: Weasel Books
Date: 24 Jan 05 - 03:10 PM

Paul is one of my heroes. What a voice! A great man with a wonderful gift, who tried to improve the lot of people everywhere, and was abused, and forgotten. Also, an active campaigner against anti-Semetism (his wife was Sephardi).
He was Communist, but also a patriot and never compromised his principles. Someone like that is dangerous. Now if he had shut up and behaved like a good little boy, maybe he would be a household name. Basicaly that I think is what they were threating him with.

As to films, he vowed never to play in one again until better roles were written for blacks, because he hated what he was given (like Sanders of the River, which also included a certain Mr. Kenyata).


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Subject: RE: Stories about Paul Robeson
From: Fliss
Date: 24 Jan 05 - 06:48 PM

My father was a fan of Paul Robeson. He told me a little of RObsons story.

I have one LP of Dads that I treasure and that is with RObeson singing Beir me O. It sends tingles down my spine and reminds me of my dad, as he used to sing it, as do I, unaccompanied.

fliss


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Subject: RE: Stories about Paul Robeson
From: GUEST
Date: 24 Jan 05 - 09:11 PM

Wasn't there an occassion when he sang to a hall full of Welsh people over the telephone?


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Subject: RE: Stories about Paul Robeson
From: Pauline L
Date: 25 Jan 05 - 02:27 AM

Re Paul Robeson's life:

I've been rereading parts of my favorite biography of Paul Robeson, "Paul Robeson" by Martin Bauml Duberman. I recommend the book very highly to anyone who, like Raggytash, wants to learn more about Robeson. I was riveted again by the author's portrayal of Robeson and the times in which he lived.

Paul Robeson's relationship with Communism was complex. He was interrogated by HUAC and the State Dept. as to whether he was a member of the Communist Party, and he refused, with great eloquence and dignity, to give a yes or no response. Duberman wrote, "Robeson's political identification was primarily with the Soviet Union in its original revolutionary purity, and not with the secondary manifestation, the American Communist Party. On the most obvious level, he was never a member of the CPUSA...He had aligned himself with the Soviet Union by the late thirties because it was playing the most visible role in the liberation of American and colonial peoples of color... [He] worked hard to champion the interests and to ensure the survival of the Communist movement [for this reason]...[Robeson became] a prominent ally [and displayed] unswerving loyalty to the CPUSA...In 1951 he even offered to join the Party as a public gesture of solidarity, just before its leaders were jailed."

During his testimony before the House Unamerican Activities Committee, Robeson was asked why he had not remained in Russia, and he replied, "Because my father was a slave and my people died to build this country, and I am going to stay here and have a part of it just like you." He was asked why he had sent his son to school in the Soviet Union, and he replied that the reason was to spare him from racial prejudice. One of the Congressmen asked, "What prejudice are you talking about? You were graduated from Rutgers." Robeson tried to explain that "the success of a few Negroes including myself or Jackie Robinson" did not make up for the fact that thousands of black families in the South had a yearly income of seven hundred dollars and lived in a kind of semislavery.

Towards the end of his life, Robeson suffered from paranoia and severe depression. While in the Soviet Union in the early sixties, he attempted suicide. For a while, he lived in mental hospitals in Moscow and then in London.

I found no allusion to a Sephardic Jewish background of Robeson's wife Effie, who was African American, in this book. However, Robeson's son Paul married a white American Jew. There were riots in the streets on the occasion of the wedding. Robeson, Sr. was supportive of the marriage and denounced the mobs for racism. For this, he was blasted as an "undesirable" American citizen in the Hearst newspapers nationwide and on the floor of the House of Representatives.

Robeson's dignity and courage in the face of extreme vilification and governmental abuse are almost beyond my comprehension.

Re Paul Robeson's music:

My favorite among Robeson's recordings is "Songs of Free Men and Spirituals," which dates back to the 1940s. One side of the record has spirituals and the other side, political songs. I have trouble telling the two genres apart because they're both about suffering and justice. I first learned some gospel songs from this record, including "Go Down Moses," "Balm in Gilead," and "Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child." I listened to the latter over and over, crying, as part of my grieving when my parents died. The political song on this record that I find most moving is "Peat Bog Soldiers," a song of Jewish prisoners in Nazi concentration camps. At the last Getaway, I told Susan of DT that I found this song very depressing, and she told me that she found it uplifting. Since then, I've listened to it and thought about it again, and now I sense the faith and hope of the very last line, "Homeland, dear, you're mine at last."


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Subject: RE: Stories about Paul Robeson
From: Kaleea
Date: 25 Jan 05 - 03:13 AM

I always suggest to my voice students that they read books of and listen to recordings of great singers. Mr. Robeson is one of those singers. The above mentioned bios by the grandaughter & Duberman are good to read. It is important for the younger ones to understand some of the struggles great artists went through to "make it." We should appreciate the hard work of those who helped make clear the way for us.
   Mr. Robeson is one of many, many artists who were accused during the McCarthy inquisitions. Like Desi Arnez & Lucille Ball--and even Bob Hope! Why, he wasn't even born in the USA. He only came here as a child----surefire evidence of communist ties in the inquisition days. Mr. Hope had the common audacity to film one of his NBC TV specials from Moscow. From Red Square! With Russian artists on the show mixed in with Americans. He even made jokes about Americans. And Russians. After the finger was pointed at Mr. Hope, he then proceeded to make jokes about McCarthy. People began to laugh. McCarthy began to lose his scary hold over the American people until he turned tail and ran.


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Subject: RE: Stories about Paul Robeson
From: GUEST,John in Brisbane
Date: 25 Jan 05 - 08:09 AM

In a radio documentary I've heard very recently about Lord Mountbatten, the last 'Governor-General'/Viceroy of India, there was quite some discussion about Lady Win(?) Mountbatten's intimate relationship with Jawaharlal Nehru prior to partitioning into India and Pakistan. By all accounts a quite remarkable person, she apparently had a close relationship with Paul Robeson - the presenter was quick to admit that there was no evidence of 'intimacy'.

Regards, John


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Subject: RE: Stories about Paul Robeson
From: GUEST,Roger the skiffler via the backdoor
Date: 25 Jan 05 - 09:25 AM

He had a long-running radio programme in UK which I enjoyed. His accompanist, Lawrence Brown, was a bit stiff but occasionally broke out into a few background choruses, and even a bit of boogie woogie!

RtS


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Subject: RE: Stories about Paul Robeson
From: Pauline L
Date: 25 Jan 05 - 01:09 PM

Thanks, Kaleea, for your story about Bob Hope and McCarthy. I never would have guessed that Hope would be fingered or that he would fight back so well. Humor can be powerful.

I'd love to listen to some of Robeson's radio programs. Does anyone know whether they've been archived and made available?


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Subject: RE: Stories about Paul Robeson
From: LadyJean
Date: 26 Jan 05 - 01:24 AM

My mother was a great fan of the theater. She saw Paul Robeson play Othello and said he was stiff. Robeson made a couple of movies, and I've seen them, and mom was right. His delivery is kind of wooden, without much emotion.
Said a friend of mine, "Well of course he was stiff, but you heard that deep voice and you just fell in."
But how that man could sing!!
There's a 1930s version of "King Solomon's Mines" in which Robeson plays an African prince. He doesn't talk much, but he sings! It's worth all the silliness for that voice. You do fall in.


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Subject: RE: Stories about Paul Robeson
From: Fliss
Date: 26 Jan 05 - 03:54 PM

Lady Mountbattens name was Edwina.

Ive learned something... I thought Peat Bog Soldiers was an Irish song. Suppose because they have peat bogs and the Dubliners sing the song.

f


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Subject: RE: Stories about Paul Robeson
From: GUEST,Frank
Date: 26 Jan 05 - 06:09 PM

An interesting sideline, Pete Seeger mentioned that he was associated with Robeson when he did fundraisers for the Independent Progressive Party for Henry Wallace. Robeson and Pete were at the infamous Peekskill riot in the late forties. Pete told me that working alongside Robeson was a training ground for Pete learning to handle large crowds. Prior to that, Pete had been playing for comparitively smaller audiences. Pete has said that Robeson was a tremendous musical influence on him as was Leadbelly.

Frank


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Subject: RE: Stories about Paul Robeson
From: Susanne (skw)
Date: 26 Jan 05 - 06:37 PM

Pauline, just a small (?) point: 'Peat Bog Soldiers' wasn't written by Jewish prisoners but by communists, socialists and other 'undesirable' elements who were the first to be imprisoned (and often murdered, like Carl von Ossietzky and Erich Muehsam) in concentration camps. There is a long thread on the song here.


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Subject: RE: Stories about Paul Robeson
From: hilda fish
Date: 26 Jan 05 - 06:42 PM


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Subject: RE: Stories about Paul Robeson
From: richd
Date: 26 Jan 05 - 06:54 PM

Hi,
the time when Paul Robeson sang to a hall full of Welsh People over the telephone was when he was banned from leaving the US in the 1950s. He was due to sing at a Miner's Eistedfodd in Porthcawl, but was unable to travel. So a telephone lin up was arranged. This took place on 5 Ocober 1957. William Paynter, the Preident of the south Wales National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) said: 'we are happy that it has been possible for us to arange that you speak and sing to us today. We would be far happier if you were with us in person'. The Treorchy Male Voice choir also sang in response. There were 5000 people there, and the recording was released by the NUM. There are five songs on it. It's very good.


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Subject: RE: Stories about Paul Robeson
From: GUEST
Date: 26 Jan 05 - 08:35 PM

RichD,I guess my memory ain't so bad after all. You say there was a recording released, any chance of obtaining a copy? Mr.Robeson was most cruelly treated by his own country, as were many others, and I hope that the USA is not going down that same path now. But I wont hold my breath!


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Subject: RE: Stories about Paul Robeson
From: GUEST,Folkiefrank
Date: 26 Jan 05 - 08:49 PM

5000 people to listen to a performer over a phone link, that is truly inspirational! Is that recording available?


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Subject: RE: Stories about Paul Robeson
From: Pauline L
Date: 26 Jan 05 - 10:25 PM

Suzanne (skw), just a small point: I didn't say that Peat Bog Soldiers was written *by* Jewish prisoners.


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Subject: RE: Stories about Paul Robeson
From: GUEST,RichD (in Work)
Date: 27 Jan 05 - 12:03 PM

As far as I know the recording made by the NUM didn't have a very wide circulation, and I don't believe it has ever been re-released. There is probaly a copy in the National Sound archive. Mr Robeson had a close relationship with south Wales, which apparantly began when he was working on stage in London. Many unemployed miners left Wales for London in the thirties and the story is that Paul Robeson heard an unemployed miners' choir singing in the street and joined in with them. Later he appeared in the the film PROUD VALLEY, which was set in and included locations around the south Wales coalfield. This brought him into contact with many south Wales people. He is remembered with great affection here, and his son has visited south Wales several times. As recently as last year there was a memeorial concert for him in the Parc and Dare Hall in Treorchy (Rhondda Valley) with Eric Bibb.


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Subject: RE: Stories about Paul Robeson
From: GUEST,Larry K
Date: 27 Jan 05 - 01:11 PM

Paul Roberson went to my high school in Somerville New Jersey.   Far and away the most famous person from that high school.   Also went to college at Rutgers- the New Jersey state college.

Somehow, you don't assoicate Poberson with New Jersey.


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Subject: RE: Stories about Paul Robeson
From: Weasel Books
Date: 27 Jan 05 - 01:19 PM

His wife was a Sephardi jew called Eslanda (Essie) Cardoza Goode.


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Subject: RE: Stories about Paul Robeson
From: Pauline L
Date: 27 Jan 05 - 01:57 PM

The woman Paul Robeson married, Eslanda (Essie) Cardozo Goode, was descended from mixed racial stock. Her great-grandfather, Isaac Nunez Cardozo, came from a Spanish Jewish family. He married an octoroon slave in Charleston, South Carolina. Essie's grandfather, Francis Lewis, Cardozo, was a prominent politician and activist for rights for black Americans. Her mother, Eslanda Goode, was light skinned and could pass as white, but she identified as black. Based on my reading the book I cited earlier, I believe that Essie Robeson identified strongly as a black American. Like her husband Paul, she was active in the cause of rights for black Americans. Like Paul, she was harrassed by HUAC for her dedication to the cause.


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Subject: RE: Stories about Paul Robeson
From: Donuel
Date: 27 Jan 05 - 08:34 PM

An encyclopedic entry such as

"Towards the end of his life, Robeson suffered from paranoia and severe depression. While in the Soviet Union in the early sixties, he attempted suicide. For a while, he lived in mental hospitals in Moscow and then in London."

does a diservice to the truth.

The onset of acute depression and wasting was sudden within 24 hours and without precedent. It occured under circumstances which clearly allows the possibility of a program of attempted murder by the covert hands of the USA. Friends and family all agree that Paul had no emotional problems prior to his flight from London and the stripping of his passport. Sudden psychotic breaks late in life are extremely rare. They normally occur in early adulthood or late adolescence.

What would have killed a normal man merely robbed Paul of the will to live for a brief time.

In the documentary that led me to the conclusion of poisoning, the testimony of family and friends was moving and shocking as to the sudden and unprecedented onset of a severe physical and emotional illness.

In Paul's time he was perceived as an enemy of the state by all the US cold war mongers. ..Probably to a greater degree than J Edgar Hoover perceived John Lennon as a threat to unilateral US war efforts.

Paul did gradually recover and did once again sing spirituals magnificently before his death.


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Subject: RE: Stories about Paul Robeson
From: Bill Hahn//\\
Date: 27 Jan 05 - 10:34 PM

Such interesting pieces about a truly great man. On the subject of the travel ban--I don't think this was mentioned above--he gave a concert on the Canadian / U S border from the U S side in support of labor. There is a wonderful CD out of that concert.

I treasure some LPs I have that were recorded in the 1950s at an AME Zion Church in Harlem because of the gospel he does on them . They will have you stomping your feet---and the wonderful rich bass voice of his introducing the pieces is enough to sent a chill up your spine.

Bill Hahn


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Subject: RE: Stories about Paul Robeson
From: Pauline L
Date: 28 Jan 05 - 01:24 AM

Controversies concerning Paul Robeson's life abound, and I'm getting tired of tracking down so many things in reference books and feeling compelled to substantiate everything I say. This is the last time I'll do it.

Paul Robeson's family and close friends were concerned about his depressed mood for years before his death. In 1961, after a party in Moscow, Robeson attempted suicide. He later said that he believed that this happened because the CIA had slipped something into his drink at the party. A team of Soviet doctors gave the diagnosis "depressive paranoic psychosis generated by an involutional form of arteriosclerosis." (Dispute that one, Mudcatters.) He was subsequently treated in psychiatric wards/hospitals in Moscow, London, and the U.S.

Whether or not Paul Robeson was a Communist or a victim of mental illness, he was a highly courageous, principled, and talented man.

I'm outta here.


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Subject: RE: Stories about Paul Robeson
From: GUEST,Richd
Date: 28 Jan 05 - 09:25 AM

Amen to that, Pauline L.

Rich.


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Subject: RE: Stories about Paul Robeson
From: GUEST
Date: 28 Jan 05 - 09:48 PM

Paul Robeson's Welsh Transatlantic Concert is issued on CD :
"Freedom Train and the Welsh Transatlantic Concert"
(Folk Era Records, 1998).

He did that Canadian/ U.S. concert at Peace Arch Park twice, circumventing the ban on his international travel between 1950 & 1958.


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Subject: RE: Stories about Paul Robeson
From: GUEST,folkiefrank
Date: 28 Jan 05 - 09:56 PM

This is the one he did over the phone to a Welsh audience? If so, thank you, thank you, thank you!


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Subject: RE: Stories about Paul Robeson
From: GUEST,folkiefrank
Date: 28 Jan 05 - 10:16 PM

Guest @ 09.48, thank you so much for that information. The CD is now ordered and I await it with baited breath!


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Subject: RE: Stories about Paul Robeson
From: GUEST,ragdall
Date: 28 Jan 05 - 10:56 PM

" Now if he had shut up and behaved like a good little boy, maybe he would be a household name."

In our home, Paul Robeson was a household name.
Every Sunday, my father played his recordings, and talked about the unfair treatment that Paul received.

LadyJean, whenever I hear that deep voice I "fall in" too and I'm still moved to tears when I listen to Paul Robeson singinging Dere's a Man Goin' Round. (Swing Low, Sweet Chariot, 1954, Columbia Records).


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