9 April 1898, Princeton, New Jersey, USA, d. 23 January 1976, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. Robesons father was born into slavery, but he escaped at the age of 15 and eventually studied theology and became a preacher. His mother was a teacher, but she died in 1904. Education was of paramount importance to the Robeson family, one son became a physician, and the daughter was a teacher. Of all the family, Paul Robeson was by far the most gifted. In 1911 he was one of only two black students at Somerville High School in New Jersey, yet maintained a potentially dangerous high profile. He played the title role in Othello, sang in the glee club and also played football. He graduated with honours and won a scholarship to Rutgers University. A formidable athlete, he played football at All-American level and achieved scholastic success. In the early 20s, while studying law at Columbia University, he took part in theatrical productions and sang. In 1922 he visited...
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