Paul Robeson - Tuesday, 9/25/12 Paul Robeson was the epitome of the 20th-century Renaissance man. He was an exceptional athlete, actor, singer, cultural scholar, author, and political activist. His talents made him a revered man of his time, yet his radical political beliefs all but erased him from popular history. Today, more than one hundred years after his birth, Robeson is just beginning to receive the credit he is due.To this day, Paul Robeson's many accomplishments remain obscured by the propaganda of those who tirelessly dogged him throughout his life. His role in the history of civil rights and as a spokesperson for the oppressed of other nations remains relatively unknown. In 1995, more than seventy-five years after graduating from Rutgers, his athletic achievements were finally recognized with his posthumous entry into the College Football Hall of Fame. Though a handful of movies and recordings are still available, they are a sad testament to one of the greatest Americans of the twentieth century. If we are to remember Paul Robeson for anything, it should be for the courage and the dignity with which he struggled for his own personal voice and for the rights of all people
Marian Anderson - 9/25/12 Marian Anderson was 42 when she sang her legendary open-air concert at the Lincoln Memorial on 9 April 1939. Anderson was a famous contralto of the day, and the concert was arranged after the Daughters of the American Revolution refused to let her perform at Constitution Hall because she was black. (First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt resigned from the DAR in protest and helped arrange the concert at the Lincoln Memorial.) The concert is legendary in the American civil rights movement and, despite Anderson's many other musical successes, became the signature moment in her long international career. Anderson broke many other color barriers, including becoming the first African-American to sing at the White House and at New York's Metropolitan Opera.Anderson was the aunt of former Oregon Symphony conductor James DePriest... Anderson was honored on a stamp from the U.S. Postal Service in 2005... Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his famous "I Have a Dream" speech at the Lincoln Memorial in 1963.