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One of author Dr. Gerald Horne’s latest volumes is “Paul Robeson: The Artist as Revolutionary.” I recently walked into the Parkdale Library in Toronto and saw a huge poster celebrating the great Robeson. Robeson, actor, athlete, political activist and one of the greatest singers of all time, would have been 120 years old today, April 9. Thousands of words have been written about Robeson’s interpretation of Jerome Kern’s song, “Old Man River,” but little has been mentioned about his participation in a unique musical collaboration.
New information revealed at Omaha’s annual Black August Weekend, held at the Malcolm X Memorial Foundation, may engender a glint of hope for Nebraska political prisoners, Mondo we Langa and Ed Poindexter. The two await the answer to an age-old question: How long is life? We Langa and Poindexter, also known as the “Omaha Two,” have been imprisoned 43 years.
I regard Paul Robeson as my hero and one of the greatest men who has ever lived. His words have a relevance that continues to inspire us, decades after his utterance. Of his art, he said: “[It] is a weapon in the struggle for my people’s freedom and for the freedom of all people.”
Paul Robeson was an extraordinary and versatile individual, world famous during his lifetime, who has been deliberately erased from the dominant myth of U.S. history for speaking the truth about conditions both domestic and abroad – his opposition to racism, fascism and colonialism and his support for civil and human rights, democracy, national liberation, socialism and the day-to-day resistance of working people of all lands to oppression, knowing that his fame would allow these messages to be more widely heard.