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Paul Robeson

How does one begin to describe such a giant of a man as Paul Robeson? I met him when I was a young girl, in a recording studio in Sydney where he and my father were recording some songs to commemorate his appearance at a concert in the Sydney Stadium of which my father was compere. He bent down his great head and shook my hand, and his deep mellifluous voice uttered words too gracious to pierce the awe the magnificence of his presence inspired in me, so that I could not have recounted what he said had my life depended on it. I listened quietly as they talked, and heard my father recite Talking Union Blues, the first rap song I ever heard, and watched as the hands of Paul Robeson clapped, like two celestial bodies thunderously colliding in the vast and cavernous reaches of space.

A lawyer, athlete, cultural scholar, author, fluent in several languages, an actor, singer, human rights and civil liberties activist, in every way a most remarkable man, who suffered the slings and arrows of outrageous political opposition, by whose occult government agencies he was allegedly eventually destroyed. Described in this short biography as the ultimate Renaissance man, Paul Robeson’s impact on American politics and the dialectic of social equality also in Australia in respect of its aborigines cannot be overestimated, to say nothing of his rich musical legacy.

As Othello

Here are two examples of his incomparable voice.

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