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Uploaded on May 6, 2011
Paul Leroy Robeson (April 9, 1898 -- January 23, 1976) was an American concert singer (bass-baritone), recording artist, athlete and actor who became noted for his political radicalism and activism in the civil rights movement. Robeson was the first major concert star to popularize the performance of Negro spirituals. He was the first black actor of the 20th century to portray Shakespeare's Othello in a production with an otherwise all-white cast. A nationally renowned football player from 1917 to the early 1920s, Robeson was an All-American athlete, and Phi Beta Kappa Society laureate during his years at Rutgers University. In 1923, Robeson drifted into amateur theater work, and within a decade he had become an international star of stage, screen, radio and film. Robeson was awarded the NAACP's Spingarn Medal, the Stalin Peace Prize and honorary memberships in over half a dozen trade unions.