Paul Robeson was a great many things…
The son of an escaped slave, Robeson would go on to a life of things that black people even these days don’t much get into, and was successful in them at a time where NO black people were even allowed to do them.
… and he did shit HIS way…
His baritone sang Negro Spirituals in concert halls.
He played college and professional football at a time before blacks were fully accepted into organized sports.
Hell, he even WENT to college.
And this is where it gets interesting…
At the top of it all, where he has been allowed into the “fraternity” of ‘safe negroes’ where he was allowed careers in sports and entertainment, he shifted the focus of his work and exposure to an interest in civil rights, and that is BEYOND commendable. He would see retribution for it by way of revoked passport, being tailed by the feds, losing work (and subsequently, income) and eventual sullying of his legacy.
To that last part, he fell ill and passed on after a lot of his good deeds were recognized, or even restored, to historical texts.
To draw a current-day parallel, it would be like Will Smith taking all he has done, and throwing it away for a 5-album deal with Soulja Boy.
Wait, no… I can’t do this...
There is no current parallel, as there is not parallel to the playing field that Robeson was dealt, and the fact remains that EVERY minority in entertainment right now should thank him for leveling that field.
Today marks the anniversary of the man’s birth, so please join me in the wishing of a happy one for those who remain in his legacy.
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