Paul LeRoy Bustill Robeson (April 9, 1898 – January 23, 1976) was an American actor of film and stage, All-American and professional athlete, writer, multi-lingual orator, lawyer, and basso profondo concert singer who was also noted for his wide-ranging support of Josef Stalin and Communism. A forerunner of the civil rights movement, Robeson was a trade union activist, a so-called "peace activist," Phi Beta Kappa Society laureate, and a recipient of the Spingarn Medal and Stalin Peace Prize. His outspoken beliefs and friendships with Communists led to his passport being revoked from 1950 to 1958 under the McCarran Act and he was under surveillance by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, Central Intelligence Agency and by British MI5 for well over three decades until his death in 1976. Robeson pled the Fifth Amendment before the House Unamerican Activities Committee when questioned about CPUSA membership.
- 1 Career pre-Cold War
- 2 Communism
- 3 Quotes
- 4 See also
- 5 Notes and references
- 6 External links
Career pre-Cold War
After graduating with top academic and athletic honors from Rutgers University in 1919, Robeson attended and graduated from Columbia Law school. Racism at the time limited his options in the field of law so he drifted into entertainment.
In the 1920s, Robeson found fame as an actor and singing star of both stage and radio with his Bass voice and commanding presence. He was one of the few true basses in American music, with his beautiful and powerful voice descending as low as C below the bass clef. In addition to his stage performances, his renditions of old negro spirituals were acclaimed for there beauty in singing and Christian lyricism. Robeson and his accompanist and arranger Lawrence Brown were the first to bring them to the concert stage. Paul Robeson recorded over a hundred songs. He also demanded that many of his films defy stereotypes of blacks, making him first black actor to attempt to play roles which had dignity and stressed African pride.
His first roles were in 1922 playing Simon in Simon the Cyrenian at the Harlem YMCA and Jim in Taboo at the Sam Harris Theater in Harlem. Taboo was later re-named Vodoo. He was acclaimed for his 1924 performance in the title role of Eugene O'Neill's The Emperor Jones in 1920.
Othello and Showboat
In 1930 Robeson starred in the title role in William Shakespeare's Othello in England, when no U.S. company would employ him for the part. Peggy Ashcroft co-starred as Desdemona. He would reprise the role in New York in 1943, and tour the U.S. with it until 1945. His Broadway run of Othello is still, as of 2009, the longest of any Shakespeare play. He won the Spingarn Medal in 1945 for his portrayal of Othello. For the Broadway production Uta Hagen layed Desdemona, and José Ferrer played Iago. Robeson's final portrayal of Othello in 1959 at The Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-upon-Avon was directed by Tony Richardson and also proved to be his theatrical swan song.
Robeson also played the role of Joe, which was written for him, in the 1928 London production of Show Boat, and repeated his performance in the 1932 Broadway revival of the show, the 1936 film version, and a 1940 Los Angeles stage production. His rendition of "Ol' Man River" is widely considered the definitive version of the song with Robeson making alterations to the lyrics to transform it from a song of black lament to one of defiance and perseverance.
Hollywood and international film career
Robeson's earliest surviving film is 1924's Body and Soul a silent film directed by Oscar Micheaux in which Robeson played a preacher with a split personality.
At the height of his popularity in the 1930s, Robeson became a major box office attraction in British films such as Song of Freedom and The Proud Valleyabout Wales. Briefly returning to the US he reprised his title role in Dudley Murphy's film version of Eugene O'Neill's The Emperor Jones in 1933.
The 1936 Universal Pictures film Show Boat was a box office hit for Robeson, and the most frequently shown and highly acclaimed of all his films. His performance of "Ol' Man River" for this film was particularly notable. He was also King Umbopa in the 1937 version of King Solomon's Mines.
Ballad for Americans
After a return from Europe during the Communazi period, he performed Patriotic cantata with lyrics by John La Touche and music by Earl Robinson. Originally titled, The Ballad for Uncle Sam, it was written for a Works Progress Administration theatre project called Sing for Your Supper.
Robeson performed "Ballad" on the CBS radio network in 1943, accompanied by chorus and orchestra. Bing Crosby would also record a commercially successful recording of the piece but the song is almost always associated with Robeson as it represents the pinnacle of his music and radio career prior to the Cold War He would perform it at The Hollywood Bowl to the largest sold-out crowd in its history.
Robeson's political statements and activism, including sympathies expressed towards the Soviet Union, Lenin, Mao Zedong, Josip Broz Tito and Joseph Stalin were the subject of great controversy in the mass media, in particular rumors of membership in the American Communist Party.
Robeson first visited the Soviet Union in 1934, during a genocide in which the Soviet government intentionally murdered some 14 million of its own citizens through deliberate starvation in an engineered famine. Upon his return, the official Communist Party organ The Daily Worker published an interview with Robeson, in which he gushed about the "workers' paradise":
|“||I was not prepared for the happiness I see on every face in Moscow," said Robeson. "I was aware that there was no starvation here, but I was not prepared for the bounding life; the feeling of safety and abundance and freedom that I find here, wherever I turn. I was not prepared for the endless friendliness, which surrounded me from the moment I crossed the border. I had a technically irregular passport, but all this was brushed aside by the eager helpfulness of the border authorities.||”|
Robeson was asked about Stalin's then-ongoing bloody purges:
|“|| Commenting on the recent execution after court-martial of a number of counter-revolutionary terrorists, Robeson declared roundly: "From what I have already seen of the workings of the Soviet Government, I can only say that anybody who lifts his hand against it ought to be shot!
"It is the government's duty to put down any opposition to this really free society with a firm hand," he continued, "and I hope they will always do it ... It is obvious that there is no terror here..."
According to records released under the Freedom of Information Act, the FBI believed that Robeson might have joined the Party under the name "John Thomas" but "his Communist Party membership book number is not known."
In 1949, Manning Johnson, a former CPUSA member, identified Robeson as a fellow member of the Communist Party in testimony to the House Committee on Un-American Activities. Johnson testified:
|“||[W]e were told, under threat of expulsion, never to reveal that Paul Robeson was a member of the Communist Party because Paul Robeson's assignment was highly confidential and secret... Paul's assignment was to work among the intellectuals, the professionals and artists that the party was seeking to penetrate and influence along communist lines. As long as Paul Robeson's identity with the party was kept secret, so long would his work among these groups be effective and serve the best interests of the party...||”|
Asked about this himself, Robeson refused to answer on grounds of potential self-incrimination, but his son, Paul Robeson, Jr. (who admits being a member of the Communist Party from about 1948 to 1962) claimed that his father "never joined the Communist Party." As his father's "official biographer," Robeson, Jr., selected Martin Duberman—in part (according to Duberman) because of "my left-wing views"—who also claimed in his 1988 biography that Robeson "was never a member of CPUSA, never a functionary, never a participant in its daily bureaucratic operations."
A decade after Duberman's book appeared, however, this claim would be undermined by no less an authority than the Communist Party itself. According to Paul Kengor, professor of political science at Grove City College:
|“|| In May 1998, the centennial of Robeson's birth, longtime CPUSA head Gus Hall finally, proudly revealed the truth.
In this birthday tribute to "Comrade Paul," Hall and CPUSA came bearing gifts. "We have a birthday present for Paul that no one else can give," said Hall, "the full truth and nothing but the truth." And what's that truth? "Paul was a proud member of the Communist Party USA," stated Hall unequivocally. Paul had been a man of communist "conviction." This was "an indelible fact of Paul's life," in "every way, every day of his adult life." He "never forgot he was a Communist."
The Communist Party reprinted Hall's tribute an a pamphlet entitled Paul Robeson: An American Communist. Robeson was a secret member of the CPUSA but, wrote Hall, "The U.S. Ruling Class and its corporate-ruled government made it impossible for Paul to declare his commitment to the Communist Party and a socialist USA." According to Werner Cohn, professor emeritus of sociology at the University of British Columbia, Hall wrote:
|“||My own most precious moments with Paul were when I met with him to accept his dues and renew his yearly membership in the CPUSA. I and other Communist leaders like Henry Winston, the Party's late, beloved national chair, met with Paul to brief him on politics and Party policies and to discuss his work and struggles.""||”|
CPUSA Executive Vice-Chairman Jarvis Tyner concurred in a cover story in Political Affairs, an official organ of the Communist Party:
|“||Because of the extreme repression of the McCarthy period, Robeson was not able to publicly announce the nature of his association with the Communist Party. During the House Un-American Activities Committee's hearing, Robeson joined thousands of others and refused to answer the infamous 'are you now or have you been' question... As the centennial celebrations are taking place today, many are shamelessly going out of their way to distance Robeson from his Party. Unfortunately, if these lies go unanswered, Paul's legacy will be at war with the life he actually lived. We cannot allow the ruling class to praise him, in order to tear him down. We cannot allow them to turn Robeson into an ordinary liberal. The real Paul Robeson was no liberal—he was a freedom fighter, a revolutionary, a Communist, a 20th century giant.||”|
Betrayal of Pfeffer
During a 1948 visit to the Soviet Union, Robeson asked to see his friend, Solomon Mikhoels, director of the Moscow Jewish Theater. Mikhoels had recently been brutally murdered on Stalin's personal orders in one of the dictator's periodic anti-Semitic pogroms, this one against "rootless cosmopolitanism" and Zionism. Told that Mikhoels was traveling, Robeson asked to see another friend, Yiddish poet Itzik Pfeffer, who had disappeared three years previously and not been seen since. A meeting was arranged.
His friend Herbert Marshall would write after Robeson's death in 1976 that Pera Attasheva, widow of Soviet propaganda-film director Sergei Eisenstein, told him that for his meeting with Robeson, Pfeffer “had actually been brought from the Lubyanka prison. Pfeffer had been specially groomed and dressed and warned to behave properly, to pretend that everything was normal. He had, and then he was taken back to the KGB prison. Some time later he was executed, as one of a host of Yiddish intellectuals who were liquidated at the same time.”
Robeson's son vociferously denied this story, writing to Marshall, “Your description of events that supposedly occurred during two of Paul Robeson's post-war visits to the U.S.S.R. are wholly false according to my father's personal recounting of these events to me.” But two decades later, Robeson, Jr., would admit that Attasheva's story actually was true. “Pfeffer had disappeared, nobody knew where he was,” he said. “He had been arrested, he was sitting in the Lubyanka Prison.” According to Mikhoels' daughter, “There were rumors that during the third-degree they tore his [Pfeffer's] finger nails out.” After Robeson asked to see him, said his son, the NKVD “gathered him [Pfeffer] up, sent him home, dressed him up, gave him a meal and turned him loose in the lobby of the hotel, he couldn't run anywhere...”
After “Feffer [sic] indicated with gestures that the hotel suite was bugged,” he made small talk while “using sign language and notes on scrap paper,” to tell Robeson about “Stalin's 1948 purge of the leading Jewish intellectuals.” Feffer “peered through the spread fingers of his hands to indicate he was in prison.” Robeson “handed Feffer a one-word note: 'Mikhoels?' Feffer wrote, 'Murdered on Stalin's order.'” According to Robeson's son, “dad asked him, well what's going to happen to you and some of his friends who had also disappeared, others. So Pfeffer told a funny joke as he drew his finger cross his throat, meaning that they're going to shoot us.” Pfeffer begged Robeson to tell the world the truth, pleading, "They're going to kill us. When you return to America, you must speak out and save us." (Italics in original.)
After leaving the meeting, said his son, Robeson “tore up the little notes and burned 'em in an ash tray, flushed them down the toilet...”
According to Robeson, Jr., “dad followed up by writing a letter direct to Stalin [on Pfeffer's behalf], through diplomatic channels, along with Howard Fast, the famous left-wing [actually Communist] writer here and Frederich Joliot-Curie, who was the famous French physicist and a Communist.” This alleged letter apparently failed to move Stalin. Pfeffer and his colleagues were executed in 1952.
Back in the U.S., instead of denouncing Pfeffer's murder, Robeson lied, denouncing reports of the pogrom as anti-Soviet propaganda. In the Soviet Union he had "met Jewish people all over the place," he told a reporter, and "heard no word about it." Robeson eventually confessed the truth to his son, making him vow not to make the story public until well after Robeson's death, "because he had promised himself that he would never publicly criticize the USSR."
Selective civil rights
Robeson's Stalinism extended to denying civil rights to Trotskyites, whom Stalin had labeled "agents of Fascism." In 1949, President Truman, seeking to distract attention from the Chambers-Bentley revelations of widespread Communist penetration of the Federal government, arrested 11 leaders of the Communist Party under the Smith Act. Soviet agents such as Congressman Samuel Dickstein (D-N.Y.) (the Soviet agent code-named "Crook"), the architect of what would become HUAC, had used the act in 1941 to convict 19 leaders of the Trotskyite Socialist Workers Party (SWP). Now that the CPUSA found itself attacked by the same law, some called for pardons for these SWP members. At an ironically-titled "Bill of Rights" Conference of the Civil Rights Congress (a Communist front), Robeson led the call to deny the Trotskyites' rights:
|“|| In speaking for denial of civil liberties to the Socialist Workers Party, Mr. Robeson asked the conference, "Would you give civil rights to the Ku Klux Klan?"
"No," chorused the delegates. "These men are the allies of fascism who want to destroy the new democracies of the world," the singer shouted. "Let's not get confused. They are the enemies of the working class."
On African American loyalty
His Stalinism also led Robeson to to suggest that African Americans were disloyal, by saying that they would not defend the United States from Soviet aggression. At a 1949 Paris conference sponsored by the Soviet Union, he sang "Joe Hill" (a song honoring the IWW member convicted of murder and executed in 1915) and said, "It is unthinkable that American Negroes could go to war on behalf of those who have oppressed us for generations against the Soviet Union, which in one generation has raised our people to full human dignity." In the official organ of the Communist Party, he expanded the claim to international scale: "At the Paris Conference I said it was unthinkable that the Negro people of America or elsewhere in the world could be drawn into war with the Soviet Union. I repeat it with hundredfold emphasis: They will not." He later expanded this claim further to to include not just race but class: "And it seemed and still seems unthinkable to me that colored or working folk anywhere would continue to rush to die for those who own most of the stocks and bonds, under the guise of false patriotism."
This pronouncement drew public rebukes from African-American labor leader A. Philip Randolph, international president of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, the largest black labor union; by the National Urban League, which issued a resolution condemning exploitation of the race issue by "totalitarian forces of whatever persuasion"; and by Sugar Ray Robinson, frequently cited as the greatest boxer of all time, who told a reporter that if he ever crossed paths with Robeson he would "punch him in the mouth."
Jackie Robinson, the first African American to play Major League Baseball, said he would fight for the United States against the Soviet Union or any aggressor because "I want my kid to have the things that I have," and offered to make a statement before Congress to that effect. "[C]ommunists kick up a big fuss over racial discrimination when it suits their purposes," said Robinson. But he was sure, he said, that most African Americans would "do their best to help their country win the war—against Russia, or any other enemy that threatened us...." Robeson's statement, said Robinson, "sounds very silly to me.... no one has ever questioned my race's loyalty except a few people who don't amount to very much.... one Negro, speaking to a Communist group in Paris, threatens an organized boycott by 15 million members of his race."
|“|| I can't speak for any 15 million people any more than any other one person can, but I know that I've got too much invested for my wife and my child and myself, in the future of this country... to throw it away because of a siren song sung in bass."
I am a religious man. Therefore I cherish America where I am free to worship as I please, a privilege which some countries do not give. And I suspect that 999 out of almost any 1,000 colored Americans you meet will tell you the same thing.
Robeson continued to support the Soviet Union despite his awareness of state sponsored intimidation and murder. He claimed to believe that the existence of the USSR was the guarantee of political balance in the world. During a 1949 address to the Communist front National Council of American-Soviet Friendship, Robeson spoke:
- "Yes, all Africa remembers that it was Litvinov who stood alone beside Haile Selassie in Geneva, when Mussolini's sons flew with the blessings of the Pope to drop bombs on Ethiopian women and children. Africa remembers that it was the Soviet Union which fought the attempts of the Smuts to annex Southwest Africa to the slave reservation of the Union of South Africa... if the peoples of the Congo refuse to mine the uranium for the atom bombs made in Jim Crow factories in the United States; if all these peoples demand an end to floggings, an end to the farce of 'trusteeship' in the former Italian colonies.... The Soviet Union is the friend of the African and the West Indian peoples.":
According to Joshua Rubenstein's book, Stalin's Secret Pogrom, Robeson also justified his support on the grounds that any public criticism of the USSR would reinforce the authority of anti-Soviet elements in the United States which, he alleged, wanted a preemptive war against the Soviet Union.
Stalinist apologists, including Martin Duberman, Philip S. Foner, Marie Seton, Paul Robeson, Jr. and Lloyd Brown also concur with Robeson's own words, that he felt that criticism of the Soviet Union by someone of his immense international popularity would only serve to shore up anti-communist elements in the U.S. Robeson is on record many times as stating that he felt the existence of a major socialist power like the USSR was a bulwark against Western European capitalist domination of Africa, Asia and the Caribbean.
Stalin Peace Prize
In 1952, notes ex-Communist David Horowitz, Robeson "received a Stalin Peace Prize from the dictator himself." In accepting the Prize, Robeson stated, "We know how Truman betrayed the American people in their hopes for peace, how he betrayed the Negro people in their thirst for equal rights, how he tore up the Bill of Rights and subjected the whole American people to a reign of FBI-terrorization."
Eulogy for Stalin
In April 1953, shortly after Joseph Stalin's death, Robeson wrote a eulogy entitled To You Beloved Comrade, which included these sentiments:
|“||"Forever will his name be honored and beloved in all lands. In all spheres of modern life, the influence of Stalin reaches wide and deep. … his contributions to the science of our world society remains invaluable. One reverently speaks of Marx, Engels, Lenin, and Stalin -- the shapers of humanity's richest present and future. … Yes, through his [Stalin's] deep humanity, by his wise understanding, he leaves us a rich and monumental heritage. ... How consistently, how patiently, he labored for peace and ever increasing abundance, with what deep kindliness and wisdom."||”|
Dr. R. J. Rummel, professor emeritus of political science at the University of Hawaii, is the scholar who first coined the term democide (death by government). Dr. Rummel states,
|“||"[T]he Soviet Union appears the greatest megamurderer of all, apparently killing near 61,000,000 people. Stalin himself is responsible for almost 43,000,000 of these. Most of the deaths, perhaps around 39,000,000 are due to lethal forced labor in gulag and transit thereto.||”|
Though Robeson would continue to praise the USSR throughout his life, he would neither publicly denounce nor praise Stalin personally after Nikita Khrushchev's 1956 Secret Speech exposing Stalin's "mistakes."
During his retirement and even after his death, rumors about Robeson's health and reports that he had become disillusioned with the USSR persisted. There were reports that he was living in self imposed exile in the Soviet Union, with The New York Times calling him "The disillusioned native son." At no time during his life is Paul Robeson on record as mentioning anything negative about the Soviet Union or its leaders, including Stalin. Sympathetic biographers Martin Duberman and Lloyd Brown claim that most sources they interviewed denied widespread media reports of Robeson's embitterment over the USSR.
Modern opinions on Robeson and the Soviet Union
Many anti-communist scholars and journalists cite Robeson's friendship with the peoples of USSR and his deep admiration of Russian culture and refer to him a Stalinist which effectively negates his other achievements and political affiliations including his lifetime connections and friendships with American and European Jews Movie reviewer Richard Corliss in 1998 called Robeson "a stubborn apologist for communism, Stalin-style.... He could sell sand to Saharans, but he couldn't peddle Stalin to America.... If Robeson rejected a homegrown system of oppression to embrace another, more toxic one, that was his right."
- "I love this Soviet people more than any other nation."
Notes and references
- Robeson, Susan. A Pictorial Biography of Paul Robeson: The Whole World in His Hands, 1981, pg 37
- Online notes from 2005 Paul Robeson Conference at Lafayette College. Accessed 31 January 2006.
- Duberman, Martin. Paul Robeson, 1989, pg 241.
- Holodomor, Ukrainian Students Club, Rutgers University
- Final Report of the International Commission of Inquiry Into the 1932–1933 Famine in Ukraine. Cf. Soviet Policy and the Ukrainian Genocide of 1932-33, Ukrainian Genocide Famine Foundation - USA
- United States Commission on the Ukrainian Famine, Investigation of the Ukrainian Famine, April 19, 1988. Cf. Volodymyr Vassylenko, The Ukrainian Holodomor of 1932-33 as a Crime of Genocide: A Legal Assessment, Kiev 2009; Katya Mischenko-Mycyk, Testimony Presented to the Elementary & Secondary Education Committee Hearing, February 9, 2005. HB0312, 94th General Assembly, SCH CD-GENOCIDE STUDY
- Robert Conquest, The Harvest of Sorrow: Soviet Collectivization and the Terror-Famine (Oxford University Press, 1987) ISBN 0195051807, pp. 306, 327
- Askold Krushelnycky, Stalin's Starvation of Ukraine – Seventy Years Later, World Still Largely Unaware Of Tragedy, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, April 8, 2003
- Vern Smith, "'I Am at Home,' Says Robeson at Reception in Soviet Union," The Daily Worker, January 15, 1935, quoted in Philip Sheldon Foner, Paul Robeson speaks: writings, speeches, interviews, 1918-1974 (Citadel Press, 2002) ISBN 0806508159, p. 95
- Manning Johnson testimony, July 14, 1949, Testimony of Paul Robeson, Investigation of the Unauthorized Use of United States Passports - Part 3, Hearings before the Un-American Activities Committee, House of Representatives, Eighty-fourth Congress Second Session, June 12 and 13, 1956, p. 4497. Cf. The Media Falsify Robeson's Record, AIM Report, March 1976, pp. 5-6, cited in Cliff Kincaid, Communism in Chicago and the Obama Connection, USAsurvival.org, pp. 4-5
- Ralph F. Young, Dissent in America: Voices That Shaped a Nation (Pearson Longman, 2008) ISBN 0205605419, p. 325
- Arnold H. Lubasch, "IN HARLEM WITH: Paul Robeson Jr.; Finding His Own Voice And Learning to Use It," The New York Times, October 21, 1993
- Martin Duberman, "Writing Robeson," The Nation, December 28, 1998
- Duberman, Martin. Paul Robeson, 1989, pgs 301, 318, 440.
- Paul Kengor, The Communist (Simon and Schuster, 2012) ISBN 1451698097, pp. 270-271; Cf. Paul Kengor, "The Nation's Top 50 Progressives… and Socialists and Communists," The American Spectator, March 30, 2012
- Cliff Kincaid, Communism in Chicago and the Obama Connection, USAsurvival.org, p. 5
- Biographical Sketch, Werner Cohn fonds, University of British Columbia Archives
- Werner Cohn, "Inadequate," Review of Comrades!: A History of World Communism by Robert Service, Amazon.com
- Quoted in Robeson Revised, Slate.com, June 22, 1998
- Figes, Orlando (2002). Natasha's Dance: A Cultural History of Russia. New York: Macmillan. ISBN 0805057838. Retrieved on 25 August 2010.
- Ulam, Adam Bruno (2007). Stalin: The Man and His Era. London: Tauris Parke Paperbacks. ISBN 1845114221. Retrieved on 25 August 2010.
- Robeson, Paul (2001). The undiscovered Paul Robeson: an artist's journey, 1898-1939. Hoboken, N.J.: John Wiley and Sons. ISBN 0471242659. Retrieved on 24 August 2010.
- Herbert Marshall, "Obituary: Paul Robeson (1898-1976)," Bulletin of the Center for Soviet and East European Studies, No. 17 (Southern Illinois University Carbondale), (Spring 1976), p. 4
- Letter from Paul Robeson, Jr. to Herbert Marshall, April 29, 1976, reprinted in Herbert Marshall, "Paul Robeson's Obituary—The Aftermath," Bulletin of the Center for Soviet and East European Studies, No. 18 (Southern Illinois University Carbondale) (Fall 1976), p. 1
- “Ходили слухи, что на допросах у Фефера вырвали ногти.” Наталия Михоэлс-Вовси, "Убийство Михоэлса," Время и Мы: журнал литературы и общественных проблем, No. 3 (Январь 1976), Тель-Авив (Natalya Mikhoels-Vovsi, "The Assassination of Mikhoels," Time and We: the journal of literature and public problems, No. 3 [January 1976], pp. 173-197 [PDF 88-100]) Quote appears on p. 190 (PDF p. 97). The English translation used here is from Herbert Marshall, "Paul Robeson's Obituary—The Aftermath," Bulletin of the Center for Soviet and East European Studies No. 18 (Southern Illinois University Carbondale) (Fall 1976), p. 4
- Interview with Paul Robeson, Jnr. (Part 2) (Episode 6: Reds, Interview transcripts, “Cold War,” CNN), National Security Archive, The George Washington University.
- Robeson, Jr., Paul (2010). The Undiscovered Paul Robeson: Quest for Freedom, 1939-1976. Hoboken, N.J.: John Wiley and Sons. ISBN 0471409731. Retrieved on 24 August 2010.
- Tim Tzouliadis, The Forsaken: An American Tragedy in Stalin's Russia (Penguin Group, 2008) ISBN 1594201684, p. 268
- Elizabeth Dutertre, "Insights into the 'Small Terror': An Account Assembled from the Writings of Howard Fast," in Jean-Robert Rougé, L'anticommunisme aux États-Unis de 1946 à 1954 (Presses Paris Sorbonne, 1995) ISBN 2840500566, p. 191
- Interview with Paul Robeson, Jnr. (Part 2) (Episode 6: Reds, Interview transcripts, “Cold War,” CNN), National Security Archive, The George Washington University.
- Louis Rapoport, Stalin's War Against the Jews: The Doctors' Plot and the Soviet Solution (Free Press, 1990) ISBN 0029258219, p. 116
- J.V. Stalin, "Defects in Party Work and Measures for Liquidating Trotskyite and Other Double Dealers: Report to the Plenum of the Central Committee of the RKP(b)," March 3, 1937, Parts 1-3 of 5 (Moscow: Cooperative Publishing Society of Foreign Workers in the USSR, 1937)
- "...the Civil Rights Congress is an organization dedicated not to the broader issues of civil liberties, but specifically to the defense of individual Communists and the Communist Party... the organization is controlled by individuals who are either members of the Communist Party or openly loyal to it, and... in carrying out its defense aims, the organization has at the same time engaged in a campaign of vilification against the American Government." Union Calendar No. 575, House Report No. 1115, Report on the Civil Rights Congress as a Communist Front Organization, Investigation of Un-American Activities in the United States, Committee on Un-American Activities, House of Representatives, 80th Cong., 1st sess., Public Law 601 (Section 121, Subsection Q (2)), September 2, 1947 (Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1947), p. 19. The organization was subsequently cited as subversive and Communist by Truman's Attorney General Tom Clark on the Attorney General's list of subversive organizations, as mandated by Truman's Executive Order 9835.
- "Rights Group Bars Socialist Pardon; Robeson Heads Fight on Plea For Restoring Liberties to Workers Party Members," The New York Times, July 18, 1949. Cf. Investigation of the Unauthorized Use of United States Passports—Part 3, Committee on Un-American Activities, United States House of Representatives, 84th Cong., 2d sess. June 12–13, 1956 (Washington: United States Government Printing Office, 1956), p. 4676 (PDF p. 202)
- Interview with Paul Robeson, Jnr., "Cold War" (CNN), National Security Archive, George Washington University
- Freedomways, Paul Robeson: The Great Forerunner (International Publishers, 1998) ISBN 071780724X, p. 320
- Paul Robeson, “I Am Looking for Full Freedom,” The Worker, July 3, 1949. Cf. Investigation of the Unauthorized Use of United States Passports—Part 3, Committee on Un-American Activities, United States House of Representatives, 84th Cong., 2d sess. June 12–13, 1956 (Washington: United States Government Printing Office, 1956), p. 4502 (PDF p. 22); Sheldon Foner, ed., "Paul Robeson Speaks: Writings, Speeches, Interviews, 1918-1974" (Citadel Press, 1978) ISBN 0806508159, p. 424
- Sheldon Foner, ed., "Paul Robeson Speaks: Writings, Speeches, Interviews, 1918-1974" (Citadel Press, 1978) ISBN 0806508159, p. 344
- "Robeson Criticized by Negro Union Head," The New York Times, November 7, 1949, p. 23
- Doris Greenberg, "Urban League Set to Chide Robeson; Leaders Draft Statement for Approval Today Condemning Exploiting of Race Issue," The New York Times, September 9, 1949, p. 15
- Michael C. Moynihan, "'Socialist' Is Not A Racist Smear," Reason, October 23, 2008
- "Jackie Robinson Disputes Robeson; Baseball Star Offers to Tell House Group He Would Fight Against Russia," The New York Times, July 9, 1949, p. 8
- Testimony of Jack Roosevelt Robinson, July 18, 1949. Committee on Un-American Activities, Hearings Regarding Communist Infiltration of Minority Groups, Vol. 1-2 (U.S. Govt. Print. Off., 1950). Cf. FBI file: Jackie Robinson, Part 3, pp. 19-21; "Negroes Are Americans," Life August 1, 1949, p. 22
- Duberman, Martin. Paul Robeson, 1989, pgs 354
- In 1953 the Subversive Activities Control Board (SACB) found that the National Council of American-Soviet Friendship, "advances positions...markedly pro-Soviet and...anti-United States Government...is a Communist-action organization which has as its primary purpose to advance the objectives of the world Communist movement under the hegemony of the Soviet Union; it has the policy to support and defend the Soviet Union under any and all circumstances...We conclude that the National Council of American-Soviet Friendship, Inc., is substantially directed, dominated, and controlled by the Communist Party of the United States...and is primarily operated for the purpose of giving aid and support to...the Soviet Union, a Communist foreign government." United States Subversive Activities Control Board. Reports of the Subversive Activities Control Board, Vol. 1 (Washington: United States Government Printing Office. 1966), p. 501.
- Foner, Phillip.Paul Robeson Speaks:The Negro and The Soviet Union, 1978, p. 237
- Foner,Phillip.Paul Robeson Speaks:The Negro and The Soviet Union, 1978,pgs 238
- Horowitz, David, "Moment of Truth (for the anti-American Left)", Jewish World Review, March 31, 2003
- Thoughts on Winning the Stalin Peace Prize, Paul Robeson, January 1953.
- To You Beloved Comrade”
- Murder by Communism, R.J. Rummel, New Brunswick, N.J.: Transaction Publishers, 1994.
- Duberman, Martin. Paul Robeson, 1989, Attempted Renewal.
- Duberman, Martin. Paul Robeson, 1989, chapters "Broken Health" and "Attempted Renewal".
- Faingold, Noma. "Paul Robeson: forgotten hero of Jews, African-Americans" Jewish News Weekly, July 1998
- Karp, Jonathan. "Performing Black-Jewish Symbiosis: The "Hassidic Chant" of Paul Robeson", American Jewish History, Volume 91, Number 1, March 2003, pp. 53-81
- Richard Corliss, "Ol' Man Charisma, Paul Robeson: 1898-1976," Time, Vol. 151, No. 16 (April 20, 1998)