… Paul Robeson was born in Princeton, New Jersey.
Tonight Grant Cooper and I will be facilitating a community discussion on the life and writing of James Baldwin at the public library in Union, New Jersey. Talking about Baldwin on Robeson’s birthday put me in mind of a birthday event in April 1965 at which Baldwin, and other luminaries, offered reflections on Robeson’s career as an artist and activist. The event was hosted by Freedomways journal, a periodical that chronicled the civil rights struggles of the 1960s and 70s.
At the birthday event Baldwin observed, “[I]n the days when it seemed that there was no possibility of applying the rigors of conscience, Paul Robeson spoke in a great voice ….”
Both of these men still speak to us today in a great voice. Let’s hope that our society is ready to listen.
Happy Birthday, Paul Robeson.