NYU Black Renaissance Noire Fall 2013 - Page 169

o Portrait of Paul Robeson, as Othello. A committed singer BRN-FALL-2013.indb 167 A loyal Communist supporter, Robeson preferred to ignore the information, allowing himself to be deluded, or at any rate choosing to remain silent, rather than join the chorus of criticism against the ussr. He never mentioned his meeting with Feffer, except to his son, Paul Robeson Jr., who in turn described the meeting to one of his father’s biographers, Martin Bauml Duberman. 5 Robeson’s homage to his persecuted friends was predictably erased from the concert recording and ignored by the highly laudatory articles published in the Russian press afterwards. This story, which remains shrouded in uncertainty, provides an indication of the singer’s convictions and contradictions during a tormented period. Torn between loyalty towards his Jewish friends, and his belief in the communist promise of a society free of inequality and racism, Robeson sang about both but remained otherwise silent. Born in Princeton, New Jersey, in 1898, Robeson was the son of a former slave who became a church minister. After his mother died when he was six, Robeson was brought up by his father in an austere family home and in a social environment subject to the Jim Crow system. Robeson’s first contact with Jewish culture came at an early age: “As a child he had witnessed the easy friendship between his fa \??[?\??ZY???H?\??X[??]?\??[[ZY?[??[]Y[K???[??B?]\??\?H?H?]H\???][?]?\??]??X]\??]\?\???[??\]X[[???Y[??]?\?[?^\?Y[??B???\???]?\????? ??'H ??\?\???\???Y??\??\?????Y[??\?[?^?\??[??\??XY?B???Y??\?[?ZZ??[?]?\?Z[?B?Y?HY\[\?\??[??[K\?Y?\?\???\?H?[?KT?[Z]\?H\?[??\??Y[?YX\??]?]?\??[?]?\??]K????\???\?H?\???X??\????YZ]Y??]?\???\?H\?H?\?B?H?[]]?[H\??H?[X?\???]?\???Y[????'??\???\??X]Y?]??\?[?H?\?[??H[???\?HH?]?\?Y[X?\???H????8?&\??Y[???K??\?H?H?X??X[????[\\?\??\??YX\?[???H??YH?X???[???Y?\?[??\??[?[?[??[?[??YX\????\???&\??\?[??B????]]Y???\?[?\?X]?H\??\??Y[????K?H??Y?x?&\??]?\???[][???]?\?[???H?[?[???X?[?B?[[ZY?]YX\?\??]\??X[???]???\??X??[?X[ [??[?KT?[Z]\?H]?]?\??\?]?\???Y?\??\????B??Y\??XY?]?\?]Y[?]?[???][?X[?Y?\?][???'H ???P???S?RT??S??H??T?B??]]?[?[??[?[?????H???B?[[?[?[H?HY\?[\?[[????]?Y[?[Y\?X?[?[??\??X[??]????^Z[??]??Y?H???H?\?Y??^H?XY?H?\???Y[?????[??ZZ??[?[?]?Z??Y??\??HYY]?H???]?\?\?\???^YX\??X\?Y\??[?H[?]Y?]\?\?[??H\??B???T??Y]?[H??[?^?Y?HH??Y]??]?\?[?KQ?\??\???[Z]YH?X???\??Z\?Y?H[?\?Z[??Z[???X??[??NM ?H?]X][?Y ???\??K?Y[????\][HY??\?[??[??HH\???[?H[?]Y?]\??\?H?B??[YH?YHY?Z[???\??\?K????[??ZZ??[?H?[???YX????Y?[???YY\]X[?X??\???]ZY\???\??[?????[H[ZX?[x?&\?]?YHB?Z[?X[?[??Z?\?X\?x?&\??[??X\???\?H\?X???H?[[?\?[??????]H?]?\?X]\??]?Z??Y??\???Y??Y??]H?]??][?\?Y\?[??NLM??\?HZY\??]??Y?Y[????X?X[H?X???^?Y[???[?Y?B?H?]K?H??Y[?\?X?YB???Y]?]?\?[?KQ?\??\???[Z]YB?[??\?H?Y?[\?H?[?X???Y??Z\?B?[?\??][?[?\? ???[? NMK[?H[?]Y?]\?B??X???]?H?H?Y??\?H ??\???[??[?Y?HH???\?XY[????[?]X?[?[???X?X[ ?[Y?Y ???[][?\??[?H??Y][?[???[[??&\??X]\??\??X?Y?Y?[??[? NL??\??Y?8?'H???[??][??[[Y[??8?'H\??]???\?H?Y?\??Y???[?H\??]?Y[?[?????][???\??Y?[??\??\X]YH??YY][??\???Y[???Y??H?[?[H?Z[??X?H??YH]?Z??Y??\??[???\???&\??[???H?Y??\?[???YY[B???Y??Y??[???X??Y??\?????X\??Y[?ZX???\?]?ZZ??[?Y?Y[?\??\??[?]YB??]?[?\?YX\??HH?]X?[?X?H ?[??]H[\?[??\?[??[Z[\?[??\?? ??M???HY?Y[?[??]Y??H ML?[??]?\??\?H?H?\??[^[?\??\??[?H[???[[?\??[??\??X[??]?[??X] Y?[?????H?X???]?HY?Y?H]\?B??X] ? H]?\??&]??\???&\??\???\?]??H?YH????X[\?K??[??YY?\?H\?[??Z\?Y?Y\? ??\???YZ\?YH??[??H?X?Y?\??YY??]]????]??][?[??\?Y?H??Y??\??H\??? ?\?X?[\?HY??X?[?[?\[?[??B?[?[Y[??H\?X?[\?HYZ\?Y?H??[??H[??X??Z[???X?????]HXYH??Y??\?[??K?\?B?[?]^?[??[???YYH?[YH?Y????Y?\?\?????[???????K?L??L? L??SB??