Paul LeRoy Bustill Robeson (April 9, 1898 - January 23, 1976)
was a multi-lingual American actor, athlete, Basso cantante concert
singer, writer, civil rights activist, fellow traveler, Spingarn
Medal winner, and Stalin Peace Prize laureate.
Robeson found fame as an actor and singer with his fine bass
voice. He is one of the few true basses in American music, with his
beautiful and powerful voice descending as low as C below the bass
clef. In addition to his stage performances, his renditions of old
spirituals were acclaimed; Robeson was the first to bring them to
the concert stage.
Robeson spoke out against racist conditions experienced by Asian
and Black Americans; he condemned segregation in both the North and
the South. In particular, Robeson spoke out against lynching and,
in 1946 he founded the American Crusade Against Lynching.
In 1948, Robeson was active in the presidential campaign to
elect Progressive Party candidate Henry A. Wallace, who had served
as Secretary of Agriculture, Vice President, and Secretary of
Commerce in the administrations of President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
On the campaign trail in June of that year, Robeson went to
Georgia, where he sang before "overflow audiences... in Negro
churches in Atlanta and Macon."