On 9th April 1898 Paul Robeson, the acclaimed musician, actor, activist and broadcaster was born.
Robeson became famous for his acting career – staring in Othello, Show Boat and many other acclaimed plays – he also appeared in numerous early films and was a central figure of the Harlem Renaissance in America during the 1920s. During the Second World War he became famous for his BBC broadcasts.
He was a passionate activist for many things – anti-fascism during the Spanish Civil War, Black rights, Indian independence amongst other things. He used his music as a form of morale boosting and social critique.
During the McCarthy era Robeson was black-listed for his liberal views and open support of movements that went against government and had his passport revoked. He spent the passport-less years discussing world peace with Einstein, singing at the Carnegie hall and publishing his autobiography Here I Stand. In 1957 he made a radio broadcast to the coal miners of Wales.
In 1960 he made his last concert tour in Australia and New Zealand. He died in 1976 aged 77.