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Paul Robeson Subject of Talk

Scholar to Speak of Paul Robeson’s Struggles For a Legacy of Social Justice at Home and Abroad

Speaker Lamont Yeakey focuses on Robeson’s work from the 1930s to the 1950s

(March 27, 2003)

Paul Robeson

Paul Robeson

RIVERSIDE, Calif. — Lamont Yeakey, one of the nation's leading scholars on Paul Robeson, will speak about his struggles to achieve social justice at home and abroad in a free and public presentation scheduled for 3 p.m., Saturday April 5, at the University of California Riverside's Humanities and Social Sciences building, room 1500.

The Title of Yeakey’s talk is “Paul Robeson: Defender of Democracy, Freedom and Justice.” It is the second African Diaspora lecture this year. African Diaspora events are co-sponsored by the History Department and UC Riverside's Center for Ideas and Society with a grant from the Ford Foundation. Call Karen Wilson for more information at (909) 787-5401, ext. 11845.

Yeakey will focus on Robeson's work between the late 1930s and the mid-1950s, a time period during which Robeson achieved almost unprecedented international acclaim. It was also a period when an effort was made to prevent Americans from knowing about the accomplishments of Robeson, a scholar, All-American football player, lawyer, linguist, actor and singer. During that period, Robeson’s embrace of socialism and demands for racial justice prompted his blacklisting from recording and TV appearances, denouncements from other black leaders and seizure of his passport. Rather than view Robeson as simply a “great man,” Dr. Yeakey will consider him as a man of his time and as a citizen of the world.

The African Diaspora series, now in its third year, is part of a program to increase awareness of the relationship between West Africa and blacks in the Americas.

“We could hardly, scanning the nation, have selected a better authority on Paul Robeson than Lamont Yeakey,” said Sterling Stuckey, professor of history at UC Riverside and organizer of the African Diaspora series.

Yeakey “was knowledgeable about Robeson and giving freely of that knowledge at a time when practically no one in our leading universities had sufficient integrity and knowledge to make Robeson's marvelous achievements available to the American people,” Stuckey added.

A professor at Cal State Los Angeles, Dr. Yeakey teaches the recent political,
social and intellectual history of the United States.

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