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Do you know who Paul Robeson is - Assignment Example

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Name: Course: Instructor: Date: Do you know who Paul Robeson is? Paul Robeson is arguably one of the best remembered African Americans who lived during the 20th century. Robeson was a multi-career man who gained fame due to his activism and political radicalism during the civil rights movement (Wright 46)…
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Download file to see previous pages Robeson’s mother, Maria Louisa Bustill came from a well known family of mixed ancestry consisting of Anglo-American, American and Lenape. She died from a house fire when Robeson was just 6 years of age. Robeson’s other siblings were: William Drew Robeson II, Rev. Benjamin C. Robeson, Reeve Robeson and Marian Robeson (Boyle and Bunie 13). Education and Early Life Robeson’s father held a strong belief that African Americans were as good as their whit counterparts. He instilled in his children this notion and made sure that they attended the same schools as white children. Robeson attended Somerville High School in New Jersey where he graduated with honors in 1915. While at the school, he participated in various activities such as acting, singing and athletics (Dorinson and Pencak 23). His academic excellence and activities in school earned him a full academic scholarship at Rutgers University. Being accepted on scholarship at Rutgers was a great feat for the young Robeson since there were only two other African Americans who had achieved the same. He was the only African American student in the university or the whole duration that he was at Rutgers. While in his third year, he became one of the only three classmates to be accepted into the Phi Beta Kappa fraternity. In 1919, he was one of the four students who were selected in the Cap and Skull honor society (28). Robeson continued to be involved in school activities while in Rutgers where he participated in debate and oratorical contests. He was the recipient of the statewide debate contest prize for four straight years (Foner 33). Robeson was also an avid singer and he was part of the campus Glee Club. However, because of the racist environment at the time, he was not allowed to travel with the group for social events and performances. Another hindrance he faced as a result of the racist climate during his studies was being denied the chance to enjoy the festivities of the university’s Philoclean Society, even though he was a duly elected member of the literary society (Boyle and Bunie 100). Just like when he was in high school, Robeson was also an all-rounder in campus. He was an excellent sportsman at Rutgers where he took part in American football, basketball, baseball and athletics. His participation in these sports earned him some 15 varsity letters. In football, he played the end position and he was so good at it that he earned himself a name in the first team All-America in 1917 and 1918. He became the first student and player from Rutgers to reach that feat (Duberman and Bauml 20). Despite his prowess in the game of football, Robeson faced numerous racial episodes, for instance when some Southern teams declined to play with a team that had an African American in the lineup. However, this did not deter him and he is considered by many to be one of the greatest football players of his time (22). Robeson was the valedictorian in his 1919 graduation class. Historians have always praised his academic and athletic excellence that few others can measure up to (Larsen 35). After graduating from Rutgers, Robeson enrolled in the Columbia Law School. To pay for his education at Columbia, Robeson worked as an athlete and a performer. He played for the Akron Pros and the Milwaukee Badgers, teams that were part of the American Professional Football Association, which later cam to be known as the National Football League. He also played ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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