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Paul Robeson - The artist as revolutionary

Credit: Photograph by Yousuf Karsh, Camera Press London
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In the new year-long program, West explores the fascinating and inspiring legacy of Paul Robeson. A presentation on artistic virtuosity, fame, political conviction and leadership. The changing exhibition with feature films, documentaries, music and archive material from his activist career will be supplemented with events. As historian Gerald Horne puts it, Paul Robeson was an artist and a revolutionary, a man of his time and ahead of his time, a tireless fighter for universal human dignity and a martyr to a world still incapable of respect. guarantee for everyone.

World-renowned singer and actor Paul Robeson earned worldwide respect for his commitment to universal humanity. An eloquent, charismatic and uncompromising leader in the struggle against colonialism, imperialism and for the emancipation of the black population, Robeson crossed the different social strata of his time. In the 1930s, he starred in the play Othello in Stratford, spent time with students such as Kenyatta and Nkrumah, later future leaders of Africa, and collaborated in Moscow with director Sergei Eisenstein on a film about the Haitian revolutionary Toussaint Louverture.

Together with his wife, the anthropologist and journalist Eslanda, Paul Robeson was one of the first globally recognized black intellectuals. He was extremely proud of his African heritage and his presence sent ripples of excitement and hope around the world. With his personal mission: that all human cultures are fundamentally related, Robeson performed songs from all over the world in their native languages. Convinced of linguistic similarities between peoples, he was fluent in Russian, Chinese, Norwegian, Welsh, Spanish and several African languages, making loyal friends who came to his aid when he and Eslanda came under fire during the reactionary Red Scare (Red Fear) after World War II.

His fight for equality and his campaign to end Jim Crow and anti-lynching laws, as well as criticizing US imperialism in Africa, would keep Robeson under the watchful eye of the FBI for a long time. His unwavering support for communist China and the USSR, the first country where Robeson said he was allowed to roam freely and was treated as a full human being, cemented his dissident status. He was severely punished for his views and eventually destroyed. Today, Robeson's activism is seen as the foundation of the Civil Rights Movement. Robeson, a tireless champion of human dignity,

‘The artist must elect to fight for freedom or slavery. I have made my choice.’
Paul Robeson

Dates and Times

4 March 4 March 2023
12:00 – 18:00
12:00 – 18:00
12:00 – 18:00
12:00 – 18:00
12:00 – 18:00
€ 3,00 - € 12,50
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