This blog features singer Paul Robeson (9 April 1898 – 23 January 1976) whose voice was a glorious bass male voice. Robeson earned a Law degree from Columbia Law School while playing in the National Football League (NFL) and singing and acting in off-campus productions.” (Wikipedia).
Famed singer Paul Robeson was an activist and was therefore put on several “blacklists,” no pun intended, because of his ethnicity. Wikipedia tells us that he was “scrutinized during the age of McCarthyism.” Charlie Chaplin, or Sir Charles Spencer “Charlie” Chaplin, KBE [Order of the British Empire] (16 April 1889 – 25 December 1977) was also blacklisted and had to return to Britain. He never came back to the United States. There was a Hollywood blacklist. During the McCarthy era, many liberal-minded Americans were considered Communists or left-wing radicals.
The Cold War
During the early years of the Cold War, McCarthyism often grew into collective paranoia. I remember when Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, accused of conspiracy to commit espionage, were sent to the electric chair. On this subject, you may wish to visit the Executed Today site.
McCarthyism was one episode, in a long series of episodes, during which radical conservatives referred to “progressive reforms such as child labor laws and women’s suffrage as “Communist” or “Red plots.” (Wikipedia)
“Joe Hill” or Joel Emmanuel Hägglund
Paul Robeson led a difficult life, because of prejudice against people whose ancestors were forced to go to countries where they were used as slaves. Mr Robeson stood up for their downtrodden descendants.
The song I have chosen is about Joe Hill. You may have heard that song before. Joe Hill, born Joel Emmanuel Hägglund in Gävle, Sweden, was promoting unionization among workers. He was accused of murder and executed in 1915.
Once again, I would recommend you visit the Executed Today site. It is very informative.
Paul Robeson had a beautiful voice and he was eclectic in his choice of songs, as was Marian Anderson.© Micheline Walker 12 August 2012 WordPress