83. Songs of the People: Paul Robeson and the Negro Spiritual

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The career of the multi-talented activist and performer Paul Robeson, and the place of the Negro spiritual in the Harlem Renaissance.



Further Reading

• W.E.B. Du Bois, Souls of Black Folk (Oxford: 2007), ch.14: “The Sorrow Songs”

• Z.N. Hurston, “Spirituals and Neo-Spirituals, in N. Cunard (ed.), Negro Anthropology (London: 1934), 359-61; reprinted in Z.N. Hurston, Folklore, Memoirs, and Other Writings (New York: 1995).

• J.W. Johnson, The Book of American Negro Spirituals (New York: 1925).

• P. Robeson Here I Stand (Boston: 1958).


• M. Duberman, Paul Robeson (New York: 1988).

• G. Horne, Paul Robeson: the Artist as Revolutionary (London: 2016).

• T. Lutz, “Claude McKay: Music, Sexuality, and Literary Cosmopolitanism,” in S.A. Simawe (ed.), Black Orpheus: Music in African American Fiction from the Harlem Renaissance to Tony Morrison (New York: 2000), 41-64.

• G. Olwage, “‘Warbling Wood-Notes Wild’: Nature, Art, and Race in Paul Robeson's ‘Early Singing,’” Musical Quarterly 98 (2015), 263-302.

• M.A. Rhodes, “Placing Paul Robeson in History: Understanding His Philosophical Framework,” Journal of Black Studies 47 (2016), 235-57.

• J. Stewart, Paul Robeson: Artist and Citizen (New Brunswick: 1998).

• L.R. Swindall, Paul Robeson: a Life of Activism and Art (Lanham: 2013).

• C. Wright, Robeson: Labor’s Forgotten Champion (Detroit: 1975).


Harold Augenbraum on 28 September 2021

Required listening

I just caught up with the African series so with the fullness of 83 podcasts behind me I want to say that this series should be "required listening" for every high school student in the United States and that the combined bibliography should make up a proposed reading list for every university student.

In reply to by Harold Augenbraum

Peter Adamson on 29 September 2021

Required listening

Sounds good to us! Thanks, we're so glad you have appreciated the series.

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