Stanford University The Martin Luther King, Jr., Research and Education Institute
Paul Robeson, Jr., Civil Rights Activist and Author, Dead at 86.
April 28, 2014

Born in Brooklyn, New York on 2 November 1927, Robeson Jr. was the only child of Paul and Eslanda Robeson. His father, Paul Robeson, was a famous entertainer and activist who regularly spoke out against racial injustice in the United States and abroad. As a young boy, Robeson, Jr. traveled with his family to Europe and lived with his grandmother in Moscow, Russia. During this time he attended school in Russia and became fluent in the language, which eventually led him to become a Russian translator and lecturerer on American and Russian history later in life. For many years Robeson, Jr. worked beside his father as his personal aide, but when his father passed away in 1976 he began devoting much of his time to preserving his father's legacy.

Robeson. Jr. became the family archivist, collecting all of his father's correspendence, audio recordings and photographs, and he was able to preserve much of his father's papers, part of which are housed at Howard University. He also wrote books about his father, the first titled The Undiscovered Paul Robeson: An Artist's Journey, 1898-1939. Robeson, Jr. worked to ensure that his father's life was not misrepresented, including acting as a consultant on films about his father and publicly criticizing inaccuracies in a Broadway play about Robeson, Sr.

Like his father, Robeson, Jr. played football in college and was an activist, but Robeson, Jr. said the one difference between he and his dad was that he was a part of the Communist Party from 1948 to 1962 while his father was never part of the Communist Party, although he was accused of it many times.

For more on the life of Paul Robeson, Jr. click here.

To listen to Paul Robeson Jr., speak about his father and share some of his father's music recordings, click here.

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