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Description - The Young Paul Robeson by Lloyd L. Brown

Famous as a football star and prizewinning student, then acclaimed as a world-class concert singer and record-breaking actor on stage and screen, Paul Robeson became one of America's most controversial figures during the Cold War. Hailed by many as a forerunner of the civil rights movement, he was denounced by others and seen by the U.S. government as a threat to the nation's security at home and abroad.Now for the first time there is an illuminating, firsthand view of this remarkable African American by a writer who is uniquely qualified to tell the story. A close friend and coworker of Robeson's for twenty-five years, Lloyd L. Brown assisted in the writing of Robeson's book Here I Stand. Now he has combined painstaking research with personal observation in his own book, The Young Paul Robeson. He brings to the work a graceful and engaging literary style developed over his many years as an essayist and critic on African-American literature and culture.Reflecting on interviews with Robeson's schoolmates in elementary school, high school, Rutgers University, and Columbia Law School and drawing on original information from other sources, Brown provides a well-paced narrative of Robeson's life, from his birth in Princeton to the budding of his artistic career in Harlem. Because Robeson always attributed his achievements to the guiding hand of his slave-born father, the Reverend William D. Robeson, Brown traced Robeson's ancestral roots to North Carolina, where he found and interviewed cousins of Robeson as well as descendants of the family that had owned his father and his grandparents. Brown's discovery of how William Robeson escaped to freedom and gained academic excellence is one of the many aspects of the Paul Robeson legend told here for the first time.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780813331775
ISBN-10: 0813331773
Format: Paperback
(235mm x 159mm x 16mm)
Pages: 224
Imprint: Basic Books
Publisher: The Perseus Books Group
Publish Date: 16-Jan-1998
Country of Publication: United States

Other Editions - The Young Paul Robeson by Lloyd L. Brown

Book Reviews - The Young Paul Robeson by Lloyd L. Brown

US Kirkus Review » This slim, workmanlike account of Paul Robeson's early years becomes fascinating by dint of its subject's remarkable achievements. Brown, a longtime friend and collaborator of Robeson's (he was, among other things the coauthor of Robeson's book Here I Stand), writes with little embellishment about the life of one of our most impressive Americans. Robeson, born in 1898, was the son of Maria Louisa Bustill, an educated black woman from the North, and William Robeson, a runaway slave who eventually became a minister. Paul, the couple's youngest child, accumulated numerous honors in high school for his scholastic, debating, and athletic prowess, and won a prized scholarship to Rutgers University. There he again made high honors, was chosen best speaker in his class four years in a row, was elected to Phi Beta Kappa in his junior year, lettered in four sports, and twice won All-American status in football (at the same time playing semi-professional basketball with the prestigious St. Christopher social club team in Harlem). Upon his graduation, he was accepted into Columbia University Law School, from which he graduated successfully, though this time without academic honors. Perhaps that was because, while in law school, he was also playing professional football, making his Broadway acting debut, pursuing a successful singing career, touring England with a theatrical troupe, and getting married. Brown ends this brief book with Robeson just about to hit his stride as an actor and singer, and with the great controversies in his life still ahead of him. Given Robeson's amazing talents, it's hardly surprising that this often sounds more like a litany of his accomplishments than a biography. It's only in his afterword that Brown injects a more intimate note, offering some wonderful anecdotes about Robeson's personal life, as opposed to his public persona. (Kirkus Reviews)

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Author Biography - Lloyd L. Brown

Lloyd L. Brown, an Afro-American writer and former labour organizer, journalist, and editor, is the author of the novel Iron City. A close friend of Paul Robeson for twenty-five years, Brown wrote for the Harlem newspaper Freedom, founded by Robeson in 1950, and served as Robeson's collabourator on his book Here I Stand, and numerous other writings.