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Paul Robeson

来源:慢速英语   时间:2020-05-08 17:00:13

By Shelley Gollust

VOICE ONE:

I'm Shirley Griffith.

VOICE TWO:

And I'm Steve Ember with the V-O-A Special English program PEOPLEIN AMERICA. Today, we tell about Paul Robeson [ROBE a son]. He was asinger, actor, and civil rights activist. In the Nineteen-Thirties,he was one of the best known and most widely honored blackAmericans. Later in his life he was condemned for supportingcommunism and the Soviet Union.

(THEME)

VOICE ONE:

Paul Robeson was born in Princeton, New Jersey inEighteen-Ninety-Eight. His father was a former slave who became thereligious leader of a Protestent church. Paul was an excellentstudent and athlete. Rutgers University in New Jersey gave him moneyso he could study there. He played four different sports while atRutgers. He also was the top student in his class. Members of hisclass believed Paul Robeson would become the leader of black peoplein America.

VOICE TWO:

Paul Robeson graduated from Rutgers in Nineteen-Nineteen. Heattended law school at Columbia University in New York City. He wasonly the third black person to attend Columbia Law School. On theweekends, he earned money by playing professional football. He alsoacted in plays. He married Eslanda Cordoza Goode while he was in lawschool. After he graduated in Nineteen-Twenty-Three, he got a jobwith a group of lawyers in New York. However, he left when heexperienced unfair treatment because he was black. He decided not towork as a lawyer. Instead, he wanted to use his ability in theaterand music to support African-American history and culture.


p>VOICE ONE:

Robeson became a professional actor. He joined the ProvincetownPlayers, an acting group linked to American playwright EugeneO'Neill. Robeson was the star in two famous productions by EugeneO'Neill in the Nineteen-Twenties. They were "All God's Chillun GotWings" and "The Emperor Jones." Critics praised his performances.Robeson became the most recognized black actor of his time.

VOICE TWO:

In London, he earned international praise for his leading part inWilliam Shakespeare's great tragic play, "Othello." That was inNineteen-Thirty. Thirteen years later, he played "Othello" onBroadway in New York. It was very popular. In "Othello," Robesonplayed an African general in ancient Venice. He is married to ayoung white woman. Othello kills his wife after being tricked intobelieving that she loves someone else. This is how Paul Robesonsounded in "Othello."

(TAPE CUT #1: "MONOLOGUE FROM "OTHELLO")

VOICE ONE:

Paul Robeson also was famous for appearing in the popularAmerican musical play "Show Boat." He performed the play in Londonin Nineteen-Twenty-Eight and on Broadway four years later. He playeda riverboat worker. Jerome Kern wrote the music for "Show Boat."Paul Robeson sang the song "Ol' Man River."

(TAPE CUT #2: "OL' MAN RIVER")

VOICE TWO:

Paul Robeson appeared in eleven movies in the Nineteen-Twentiesand Nineteen-Thirties. However, he realized that his acting waslimited by the small number of parts for black actors. He criticizedthe American movie industry for not showing the real lives of blackpeople in America. He stopped making movies and decided to singprofessionally instead.

Robeson sang many kinds of music. He sang folk music from manycountries. He sang songs to support the labor and social movementsof his time. He sang songs for peace and justice. And, he sangAfrican-American spiritual music. One of his famous songs was thisspiritual, "Balm in Gilead."

(TAPE CUT #3:"BALM IN GILEAD")

VOICE ONE:

Paul Robeson was recognized around the world for his fight forcivil rights for black Americans. Separation of black people andwhite people was legal in the United States. Black people did nothave the same rights as white people. They were not treated equally.For example, Robeson could not be served in some eating places inthe United States. Violence against black people was common. Angrymobs of whites sometimes killed black people, especially in thesouthern United States.

VOICE TWO:

In the late Nineteen-Thirties, Paul Robeson became involved innational and international movements that sought peace and betterlabor conditions. He also supported independence for Africancolonies from their European rulers. He learned the languages andfolk songs of other cultures. He said these folk songs expressed thesame feelings that were in African-American music. He learned tospeak, write and sing in more than twenty languages.

VOICE ONE:

Robeson traveled a great deal in Europe during theNineteen-Thirties. He found that black people were treated better inEurope than in the United States. He met members of liberalpolitical organizations, socialists and African nationalists. Healso met many working people and poor people.

For many years, he performed in concerts in many countries. Thesongs he sang supported the struggle for racial justice for blackAmericans, and for civil rights and economic justice for peoplearound the world. He refused to perform at concerts where the peoplewere separated by race. He said, "The idea of my concerts is tosuggest that all men are brothers because of their music."

VOICE TWO:

In Nineteen-Thirty-Four, Paul Robeson made the first of manytrips to the Soviet Union. In the Soviet Union, he said, he wastreated as an equal of whites for the first time in his life. Hedeclared his friendship for the Soviet Union. And he spoke about theneed for peaceful co-existence between the United States and theSoviet Union. Conservative groups in the United States stronglyopposed his friendship with the Soviet Union and his support forother liberal issues.

VOICE ONE:

Paul Robeson went to Spain in Nineteen-Thirty-Eight during theSpanish Civil War. He sang for Spanish civilians. And he sang forthe Loyalist forces fighting for the Spanish republic. One of thesongs he sang was this Spanish Loyalist song, "The Four InsurgentGenerals."

(TAPE CUT #4: "THE FOUR INSURGENT GENERALS")

VOICE TWO:

In the Nineteen-Forties, many people in the United States werestrongly opposed to Paul Robeson's political beliefs. They said hewas too liberal or extreme. Next week, we will tell you about howopposition to his political beliefs affected the last part of hislife.

(THEME)

VOICE ONE:

This PEOPLE IN AMERICA program was written by Shelley Gollust andproduced by Lawan Davis. I'm Shirley Griffith.

VOICE TWO:

And I'm Steve Ember. Join us again when we finish the story ofPaul Robeson in Special English on the Voice of America.