Paul Robeson in the News

Latest Scarlet and Black Book Explores Lives of Rutgers’ First Black Students

In a new book in the Scarlet and Black Project, Rutgers University continues to examine its historical relationship to race, slavery and disenfranchisement, telling the story of the university’s first black students, who were pioneers treated as outcasts on their own campus.

Read the Rutgers Today article.

A Conscious Choice: Paul Robeson's Legacy

By the time he turned 65, an ailing Paul Robeson felt both unappreciated for and unsatisfied with all that he had achieved. Martin Duberman, author of the biography Paul Robeson, writes that since childhood the actor, singer and social activist had struggled to live up to the dictum preached by his father, “that he should always do better and more.”

Read the Rutgers Today article.

Paul Robeson, Global Citizen

In 1938, after having spent months raising funds for the Republican forces fighting the fascist Nationalists in the Spanish Civil War, Paul Robeson went a step further. He embarked on a weeklong tour of Spain, where he met with and sang for Republican troops not far from the front lines.

Read the Rutgers Today article.

Paul Robeson's Journey to Activism

In late 1946, after launching an antilynching crusade in Washington, D.C., Paul Robeson and a handful of colleagues visited President Harry Truman in the White House.

Read the Rutgers Today article.

Rutgers University Press Raises Funds for Robeson Graphic Biography

This project would complement the work done by the Rutgers Robeson Centennial effort of 2019 by providing an audience of public school children and interested alums and adult readers with an accessible biography of one of the university's most accomplished and important alums. 

Support Now.

Examining Paul Robeson's Connection to the Jewish Community

The Allen and Joan Bildner Center for the Study of Jewish Life is bringing together four leading historians to examine Robeson’s relationship with the Jewish community, socialist movements, and the Soviet Union in the 1940s.

Read the Rutgers Today article.

Paul Robeson Goes to Summer Camp

Rokhl’s Golden City: Remembering the legendary singer’s summer at Camp Kinderland

Read the Tablet article.

Robeson's Granddaughter Serves as Honorary Rutgers Football Captain

In the lead up to Rutgers’ loss to Boston College, the game officials met with Suan Robeson, granddaughter of the legendary Paul Robeson, to go over the coin-flip procedure.

Read the article.

A Century Passed, Paul Robeson's Words Remain a Powerful Call to Action

Paul Robeson graduated from Rutgers University a little over 100 years ago. Though young still, his promise was unmistakable and irrepressible.

Read the BTN LiveBIG article.

Paul Robeson Launched Career as Singer and Stage Actor after Rutgers Graduation

When Paul Robeson graduated from Rutgers in 1919, he thought he’d become a lawyer.

Read the Rutgers Today article.

Crossroads Premieres 'Paul Robeson' at NBPAC's Grand Opening, 'Lion King' Actor to Star

Creative Director Marshall Jones discusses Rutgers’ connections throughout theatre company’s history

Read the Rutgers Today article.

A Pioneer Like No Other

One hundred years ago, when he graduated from Rutgers, the multitalented Paul Robeson seemed capable of anything. Over the next few decades, he proved as much, leaving behind an extraordinary legacy in athletics, the arts, and—not without controversy—the fight for human rights.

Read the Rutgers Magazine article.

Rutgers Football to Honor Paul Robeson on 150th Anniversary of Program

The Scarlet Knights will honor their past teams, All-Americans and program icons Eric LeGrand and Paul Robeson during their seven games at Stadium in Piscataway.

Read the article.

City of New Brunswick Dedicates Paul Robeson Boulevard

The City of New Brunswick dedicated Paul Robeson Boulevard, the busy thoroughfare renamed for the acclaimed scholar, athlete, actor, singer and global activist who graduated from Rutgers 100 years ago.

Read the Rutgers Today article.

New Brunswick Putting Up Paul Robeson Boulevard Signs

The city is in the process of putting up Paul Robeson Boulevard signs and expects to have the project completed by Saturday. A spokesperson for the mayor's office said the city is putting up 18 signs along the length of the what was formally Commercial Avenue, including the large hanging cross-street signs on Suydam, Sandford, George and Neilson streets.

Read the full TapInto article.

Paul Robeson Centennial Scholars

More than 120 School of Arts and Sciences seniors in the Class of 2019 were honored Thursday, May 16 as Paul Robeson Scholars, establishing an enduring connection with one of Rutgers University's most distinguished alumni.

Read the SAS article.

Paul Robeson's 1919 Rutgers Commencement

A year after his father died, Paul Robeson stood before the mostly white audience gathered for Rutgers’ 1919 commencement and delivered an address that he had entitled “The New Idealism.” From a young age, the 21-year-old had been trained by his father, William, a former slave turned pastor, in both the classics and oratory. So vocal delivery was perhaps as important as the message. But he did have something important to say. 

Read the Rutgers Today article.

Robeson Remembered: How Rutgers is Saluting an Oft-Overlooked Giant

The legacy of Renaissance man Paul Robeson has been virtually erased from American history. On the centenary of his graduation, the university is working to restore it.

He graduated as valedictorian, but had initially been barred from living on the Rutgers campus because he was black.

Read the New Jersey Monthly article.

Beating Princeton to Settle a Score

On Paul Robeson’s last day at Rutgers, one of his dreams came true. And it didn’t take place on the football field or in a classroom. It happened on the baseball diamond. Rutgers beat Princeton, a feat that had eluded Robeson since his first year.

Read the Rutgers Today article.

Rutgers Dedicates Plaza to Paul Robeson, Renaissance Man for the Ages

Celebrating the 100th anniversary of the graduation of its most acclaimed alumnus, Rutgers University dedicated a plaza named for Paul Robeson on Friday to honor his legacy as a distinguished a scholar, athlete, actor and global activist for civil rights and social justice.

Read the Rutgers Today article.

Paul Robeson: All-Around Excellence

Paul Robeson excelled in academics while persevering in the face of bigotry that kept him from social events and prevented the two-time All-American from staying in the same accommodations as the football team or traveling with the glee club.

Read the Rutgers Today article.

Score One for Rutgers: Paul Robeson, Once Shunned, is Again Big Man on Campus

In football, the famous rivalry between Rutgers and Princeton is forever.

But in another rivalry—the battle of the Favorite Sons—Rutgers has scored a decisive win.

Paul Robeson was once scorned, dismissed. Now, as the 100th anniversary of his graduation nears, he's the toast of Rutgers.

Read the North Jersey article.

New Brunswick's Commercial Avenue Renamed for Paul Robeson

One of the city’s busiest thoroughfares has been renamed for one of Rutgers’ most famous alumni.

The New Brunswick City Council recently voted to rename Commercial Avenue for Paul Robeson as the city moves ahead with plans to honor the legacy of the scholar, athlete, actor, singer and global activist by making his name a prominent part of the city landscape.

Read the Rutgers Today article.

Paul Robeson Football Star

As a first-year student at Rutgers College during fall 1915, when Paul Robeson was the sole African-American student on campus and only the third to be enrolled in the 149-year-old school, he held a white classmate over his head in rage and thought he wanted to kill him. But he didn’t. After Rutgers’ football head coach George Foster “Sandy” Sanford shouted, “Robey, you’re on the varsity!” Robeson placed his new teammate – the one who’d just stomped on his hand in an attempt to break it – on the ground unharmed.

Read the Rutgers Today article.

Residents Applaud Renaming Street to Honor Paul Robeson

It was 1944, when Paul Robeson was performing in William Shakespeare's Othello in New York City.

Despite his busy schedule, Robeson, the renowned writer, athlete, and activist, took time to travel from New York to New Brunswick to participate in a local program, recalled C. Roy Epps, the city resident, and leader of the Civic League of Greater New Brunswick.

Read the TAPinto article.

Becoming Paul Robeson

When Paul Robeson rose to speak at his 8th-grade graduation, he was ready.

A year earlier the 13-year-old had moved roughly 20 miles from Westfield to Somerville, New Jersey, with his father, William, the new pastor of the borough’s St. Thomas A.M.E. Zion Church. A former slave with two master’s degrees, William was also a first-class orator who had taught Paul how to speak publicly.

Read the Rutgers Today article.

Rutgers Basketball: The Piece of Paul Robeson's Legacy You Probably Don't Know

In December of 1918, when the Rutgers basketball team played its home opener against Colgate, the strategy was simple: Get the ball inside to one of the best athletes in the east, Paul Robeson.

It was not easy.

Read the Asbury Park Press article.

Remembering Paul Robeson's Life and Legacy

Before Paul Robeson starred on silver screens and stages, before he agitated and advocated for African Americans, workers and independence, before the government stripped him of his passport and labeled him a communist and grilled him before the House Un-American Activities Committee during the “Red Scare” and before he said he felt more like a full human being in Moscow than in Mississippi or Montgomery, Robeson, the Princeton native and son of a runaway slave, graduated from Rutgers University in 1919.

Read the NJTV News article.

Lessons From Paul Robeson's Father

Ashes. That’s what Paul Robeson remembered. It was 1901. He was just 3, living in a shack in Princeton, New Jersey. His father, William, who owned a horse and wagon, would sometimes drive Princeton University students around town. But, mostly, he worked as an ashman, hauling ashes from people’s fireplaces and dumping them in the Robeson backyard.

Read the Rutgers Today article.

Robeson Centennial Celebration Inspires New Diversity Efforts at Rutgers

In celebrating the 100th anniversary of the graduation of one of its most famous alumni, Rutgers University–New Brunswick is endeavoring to give Paul Robeson a measure of respect and honor in death that eluded him in life.

Read the Diverse Magazine article (PDF).

Rutgers Highlights the Multifaceted Perspectives of Paul Robeson in Art Exhibit

The Zimmerli Art Museum will feature six portraits of Paul Robeson highlighting the different facets of his identity. The exhibit was commissioned as part of a joint project between the university’s Robeson Centennial Celebration Committee, Rutgers–New Brunswick, and the museum. The portraits will be on display from February 9 through April 15.

Read the Rutgers Today article.

From Robeson to King: Black Lives Matter Cofounder Discusses Civil Rights Giants

Today's civil rights movement would not be possible without the work of Paul Robeson and Martin Luther King Jr., Black Lives Matter cofounder Opal Tometi said during the official kickoff of a yearlong celebration marking the 100th anniversary of Robeson's graduation from Rutgers.

Read the Rutgers Today article.

Celebrating the Life of Paul Robeson

In June 1919, in his last public appearance at Rutgers College before graduating, Paul Robeson stood before the audience assembled at the Second Reformed Church in New Brunswick to deliver the farewell commencement address, which he had entitled “The New Idealism.”

Read the Rutgers Today article.

The Undiscovered Life of Paul Robeson

Students discuss the life and legacy of Paul Robeson, Rutgers’ third African-American graduate and most famous alumnus, in a semester-long Byrne Seminar cotaught by the human rights activist's granddaughter, Susan Robeson.

"It has been rewarding to see the lights go on in the younger generation of students who haven’t experienced the hardships of my grandfather’s time . . ." – Susan Robeson

Read the full Rutgers Today story.

Before Kaepernick, This Jersey Legend Gave Up Fame, Fortune for Social Activism

In the same week Rutgers honored Paul Robeson, who was the university's first African American football player, the NFL began regular season play amid ongoing controversy over many players' decision to take a knee against racial injustice and police brutality during the National Anthem. It also coincides with Nike naming former NFL quarterback-turned-activist and founder of the silent protest, Colin Kaepernick one of the faces of the "Just Do It" campaign's 30th anniversary.

Read the article.

Groundbreaking Honors Paul Robeson's Legacy as Civil Rights Activist, Rutgers Scholar

The university recently broke ground on the future Paul Robeson Plaza, which will open in April as part of a yearlong centennial celebration of Robeson’s 1919 graduation. The plaza was conceived of and championed by the Class of 1971 for its 45th anniversary, with strong support from the Rutgers African-American Alumni Alliance.

Read the Rutgers Today article.

University Honors Paul Robeson as 'Ultimate Renaissance Rutgers Man'

In 1915, Paul Leroy Robeson enrolled at Rutgers University, the third African-American to enter the school. Four years later he graduated valedictorian and a celebrated college athlete and singer. He went on to become an world renown performer and commentator on social issues.

Read the TAPinto article.