"No one who was in Spain during the months when people still believed in the revolution will ever forget that strange and moving experience. It has left something behind that no dictatorship, not even Franco's, will be able to efface." George Orwell as quoted by People's History Museum (Communists in the People's War, 1st Floor).
Paul Robeson, famous actor, singer and political activist, championed Black rights and political change. At the time, in the words of his role model, Shakespearian actor Ira Aldridge, "it was not possible for a [Black] actor to appear in any role - not even as a buffoon”. However, Robeson was the first black actor since 1860 to play the part of Othello.
When Franco launched his infamous (1490s style) crusade, Othello saw red. Armed with cameras, pen, paper and his signature song Ol' Man River, Robeson made his way (via Manchester) to the Spanish battlefields.
Last in a series of film events showcasing Manchester's spirit of friendship, Paul Robeson in Spain will explore both the evolution of Paul Robeson's working class consciousness in Manchester and his role as (glocal) historian of the Spanish Civil War. Through its focus on the use of "art as a weapon for freedom", Paul Robeson in Spain also aims to advocate the inclusion of art histories in the curriculum.
Organised by Humanities in Public Festival at Manchester Metropolitan University, Paul Robeson In Spain is a film screening and discussion event curated by local historian Dominique Tessier. This event is part of a series of events on Paul Robeson. Booking details for Paul Robeson in China (16 Feb 2017) can be found at: https://pr-in-china.eventbrite.com