Biography of Paul Robeson

1372 Words6 Pages
BIOGRAPHY OF PAUL ROBESON Paul Robeson – athlete, scholar, lawyer, stage actor, movie star, labor activist and civil rights leader – was born in Princeton, New Jersey, on April 9, 1898. His father, the Rev. William Drew Robeson, was a former slave; his mother, Maria Louisa Bustill, was part Cherokee Indian. In 1915, Paul entered Rutgers University. At Rutgers, Paul won a total of 15 letters in track, basketball, baseball and football and twice was elected to the collegiate All-American football team. Paul excelled in the classroom as well. In 1918, he was elected to the national honors society, Phi Beta Kappa, and in 1919 graduated as the valedictorian of his class, having achieved the highest scholastic average in the history of the college. In 1919 Robeson entered the Columbia University School of Law and in 1923 graduated with a law degree. While attending school, Paul played professional football. In 1921, he was a member of the Akron Pros of the American Professional Football Association, and in 1922 played for the Milwaukee Badgers, in the newly formed National Football League, where he was a team mate of Fritz Pollard, who in 1921 became the first African- American to coach a professional football team, and Duke Slater, another black football player, who later starred for the Chicago Cardinals. Robeson turned down an offer to fight the heavyweight champion Jack Dempsey. Robeson, who was six feet three inches tall and weighed 219 pounds, and who had proven his physical strength and toughness on the football field, would have been a formidable opponent. In 1921, Robeson married Eslanda Cardozo Goode, who was the first black analytical chemist at Columbia Medical Center. Their marriage lasted forty-four years until Eslanda’s death in 1965. After practicing law for a time, Robeson became a stage actor and in 1924 starred in two Eugene O’Neill plays:

More about Biography of Paul Robeson

Open Document