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Paul Robeson

1898 – 1976

Paul “Robey” Robeson
(the nickname his friends gave him)

Exemplifies and embodies the mission of the Robey Theatre Company. He was a Renaissance man who understood the arts was an integral part of empowering oppressed people. He sought always to dignify Black people, to highlight their humanity. His work and accomplishments reflect his dedication to, “…worldwide cause of humanity for freedom, peace and brotherhood.”

Fun and Important Facts about “Robey”:

Paul Robeson was one of the great minds and most accomplished and unique artists the twentieth century has produced.

The first Black man to be named all-American in college football; considered one of the greatest ends in the history of the game.

An all-round college athlete, star of baseball, basketball, and track.

An all-round academic genius in college at Rutgers University, graduating Phi Beta Kappa and valedictorian of his class.

One of the first Blacks to play and star in professional football.

The third Black graduate of Columbia Law School. The first Black lawyer to enter one of New York’s most prestigious law firms.

One of America’s greatest concert and interpretive artists.

The first concert artist, along with Roland Hayes, to raise Black spirituals to their rightful place of respect, in the best concert halls of the world.

The most significant Black actor in America of both stage and screen.

The first Black actor to rise to international prominence in film and bring dignity and respect to Black characters.

A brilliant scholar of language and world culture, recognized as such by some of the world’s most respected historians; he also studied, spoke, and wrote more than twenty languages, including several African languages, Chinese, Russian, and Arabic.

An accomplished musicologist

A symbol of excellence on the American stage.

The actor who game the most memorable performance and profound interpretation of Shakespeare’s Othello in modern times.

A model for American youth in his prime.

A worldwide symbol of the artist as activist and spokesman for the poor and oppressed in America and throughout the world.

An inspiration to the American labor movement.

American’s first truly Renaissance man- an accomplished singer, actor, activist, athlete, orator, musicologist, and scholar.

An international hero.

Son of a slave who escaped to freedom at age fifteen.

Source: Robeson, Susan. The Whole World In His Hands. Secaucus: Citadel Press, 1981.

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Robey Theatre Company is a proud member of Theatre Communications Group (TCG), the national organization for the American Theatre.