Friday, January 6, 2017

Paul Robeson's December 1952 Letter Revisited

In a December 1952 letter, U.S. protest folk singer and civil rights/anti-war movement activist Paul Robeson wrote the following:

"...For the past several years a vicious effort has been made to destroy my career. Hall-owners, sponsors and even audiences have been intimidated. Recently, in Chicago, 15,000 persons who wanted to attend one of my concerts had to assemble in a park because the hall-owner had been threatened.

"The outrageous denial of my passport bars me from accepting contracts to appear in England, France, China and many other lands.

"Although I have recorded for nearly every major recording company and sold millions of records both here and abroad, these companies refuse to produce any new recordings for me.

"What is the meaning of this? It is an attempt to gag artistic expression, to dictate whom the people shall hear and what they shall hear. It is an attempt to suppress not only one, but every artist, Negro and white, whose heart and talent are enlisted in the fight for peace and democracy..."

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