Paul Robeson's birthday is tomorrow. His extraordinary gifts and generosity deserve celebration all year long. Robeson's great mind, heart and body were (and are)beloved internationally. He might be better known in other countries than in the U.S. When I mention his name, often the first response is the song, "Ol' Man River"; but man's brilliance and leadership defy stereotypes.
My grandfather was a professional anti-communist, and someone who was sometimes kind and sometimes cruel. One of his kind acts was to find tickets for my mother and a friend to hear Paul Robeson (at Carnegie Hall?)perform.
"It was like hearing God (god?)sing", is the way my Mom has described it.
For years I was unhappy with Jackie Robinson, because he testified (as did so many) against Paul Robeson. I learned, a few years ago, that Robeson forgave him, and the two had a reconciliation.
Here is the wikipedia entry on Paul Robeson.
Here also is a link to an article about Robeson. I haven't watched the video clips it includes.
Lastly, I want to recommend the Martin Duberman biography of Paul Robeson. I cried many times reading it, and I am aware of its controversies. It is a very detailed, carefully composed, thorough book.