A lot of people don't know who Paul Robeson was, which has a lot to do with the fact he was blacklisted in the 1950's for supporting the Communist Party and the freedom of political choice that came with it. A thespian famous for both his roles in Eugene O'Neil plays as well as for being one of the first African Americans to portray Othello on American stage, he was an all around Renaissance man. He was one of the greatest athletes of the 1920's (lettering 15 times at Rutgers University), and had a distinguished career in film before his stand against the political tyranny of HUAC and constant surveillance from the FBI wiped his name from the written record. He virtually disappeared from history, and only now is getting the recognition he deserves. If you have never heard the commanding presence of his baritone voice, look him up on YouTube, and prepare to be amazed. He was one of the first and one of the greatest African-American activists, but fought not just for the rights of blacks (he started a petition to charge the U.S. government with genocide for its complicity in not preventing lynchings), but for all the oppressed people of the world.
His epitaph says it all:
"THE ARTIST MUST ELECT TO FIGHT
FOR FREEDOM OR SLAVERY. I
HAVE MADE MY CHOICE. I HAD