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Paul Robeson, BOMA Minute

On April 9, 1898 - Paul Robeson was born in Princeton New Jersey. There aren't enough adjectives in the lexicon to articulate the genius of this poet, author, actor, singer and human rights activist. This son of a formerly enslaved A.M.E. preacher won a scholarship to Rutgers when it was unheard of for a black man to do so. He became a champion debater and Phi Beta Kappa valedictorian. Twice an All American in football, he also lettered in baseball, basketball and track before graduating in 1919.

He was among the first successful black actors to star in motion pictures and was one of the most gifted poetical orators that God has given breath. His first film was produced and directed by the highly acclaimed, yet little known black filmmaker, Oscar Micheaux. He was featured in several Hollywood films but was never satisfied with the treatment black people received in La La Land.

He began to focus on African studies and languages, speaking out on the black struggle for equality. He received death threats in the Deep South. His speeches put him in the crosshairs of the FBI and COINTELPRO, it’s counter intelligence program. Because of his loyalty to black causes he was brought up on charges and dragged before the House on Un-American Activities. Speaking up for Africans in America, according the Senate and Congress was an un-American Activity.

They revoked his passport, black-listed him and took away his ability to make a living. Paul Robeson frightened white America. He was a big, black, uppity, multi-genius-polymath who America silenced because of the color of his skin. He passed away in 1977… This has been a Breath of My Ancestors Minute brought to you by the Institute of Radical Reconciliation… #WeMustNeverForget


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