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SING AND SHOUT by Susan Goldman Rubin


The Mighty Voice of Paul Robeson

by Susan Goldman Rubin

Pub Date: April 7th, 2020
ISBN: 978-1-62979-857-8
Publisher: Calkins Creek/Boyds Mills

Focuses on Robeson’s rich, multifaceted legacy, including how his love for song served as a touchpoint throughout his historic life.

A veteran author for younger readers, Rubin provides a meticulously researched biography that integrates numerous archival images. This offering foregrounds Robeson as a powerful, studied voice of Negro spirituals, a black folk music tradition rich in religious symbolism that arose in response (and resistance to) enslavement in the U.S. Lyrics from Robeson’s repertoire form the titles of chapters, which cover his birth in Princeton, New Jersey, in 1898; his childhood and youth; his triumphant global following in the 1930s and ’40s; the turbulent 1950s, when he became a primary target of Cold War McCarthyism; and his final years in Philadelphia. Harry Belafonte, Robeson’s mentee, provides a preface, declaring his significance as a champion of the oppressed as being on par with that of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. With such an exceptional man, it would be easy to simply submit to hero worship, but Rubin lays out Robeson’s lifelong evolution on a number of personal and political issues in dialogue with his wife, Eslanda, and other noteworthy figures. Readers can expect to sit with these lessons from the committed life of one of the 20th century’s most resonant voices.

A rigorous, relatable text about one of America’s all-time entertainers and social activists.

(preface, foreword, note on terminology, personal note, bibliography, Robeson’s music, Harlem walking tour, source notes, index, picture credits, text and song permissions) (Biography. 12-adult)