One of Paul Robeson’s famous quotes goes: “As an artist I come to sing, but as a citizen, I will always speak for peace, and no one can silence me in this.”
And in his life, the athlete, actor, Phi Beta Kappa, orator, concert singer, lawyer, social activist, become internationally known.
Tonight, from 6 pm to 9 pm, at the historic Paul Robeson House in West Philadelphia, where Robeson, a true renaissance man, spent the last 10 years of his life, will be event to celebrate his birth, some 112 years ago. There will be crab cakes on the menu, one of Robeson’s favorite dishes, says Frances Aulston, president of the West Philadelphia Cultural Alliance, who found a recipe for the dish behind Robeson’s stove. And every hour, a singer will belt out songs from some of Robeson’s grand baritone performances, and actor Keith Brown will perform monologues from Othello, in which Robeson performed on Broadway.
The event is also a fundraiser, to see the worn row house restored to Robeson’s stature.
“Paul Robeson was just so important, to the entire world, because of the legacy he left us,” says Aulston. “From politics to civil rights to education to literature to the theatre to athletics, his legacy is so rich … I mean, he was bigger than life. This house provides an opportunity to share that and use that as a catalyst to connect, especially with the youth. Paul Robeson did so much in that time. He had the courage of his convictions and he didn’t let anyone stop him.”
For more information on Robeson's legacy, check out www.paulrobesonhouse.org