Who is Robey?

Paul “Robey” Robeson


Important Facts about “Robey”

  • Robey is the nickname given to Paul Robeson by his friends.
  • Paul Robeson was one of the great minds and most accomplished and unique artists the twentieth century has produced.
  • The first Black man to be named all-American in college football; considered one of the greatest ends in the history of the game.
  • An all-round college athlete, star of baseball, basketball, and track.
  • An all-round academic genius in college at Rutgers University, graduating Phi Beta Kappa and valedictorian of his class.
  • One of the first Blacks to play and star in professional football.
  • The third Black graduate of Columbia Law School. The first Black lawyer to enter one of New York’s most prestigious law firms.
  • One of America’s greatest concert and interpretive artists.
  • The first concert artist, along with Roland Hayes, to raise Black spirituals to their rightful place of respect, in the best concert halls of the world.
  • The most significant early 20th century  Black actor in America of both stage and screen.
  • The first Black actor to rise to international prominence in film and bring dignity and respect to Black characters.
  • A brilliant scholar of language and world culture, recognized as such by some of the world’s most respected historians; he also studied, spoke, and wrote more than twenty languages, including several African languages, Chinese, Russian, and Arabic.
  • An accomplished musicologist
  • A symbol of excellence on the American stage.
  • The first Black actor to do Othello on Broadway 1943 (298 performances) gave the most memorable performance and profound interpretation of Shakespeare’s Othello in modern times.
  • A model for American youth in his prime.
  • A worldwide symbol of the artist as activist and spokesman for the poor and oppressed in America and throughout the world.
  • An inspiration to the American labor movement.
  • American’s first truly Renaissance man- an accomplished singer, actor, activist, athlete, orator, musicologist, scholar and humanitarian.
  • An international hero.
  • Son of a slave who escaped to freedom at age fifteen.
Source: Robeson, Susan. The Whole World In His Hands. Secaucus: Citadel Press, 1981.