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Testimony of Communist and Civil Rights Activist Paul Robeson before the House Committee on Un-American Activities


On Paul Robeson, global activist, athlete, scholar and musician, I am continuing this as a counter to the Conservative tactic against the fight for Civil Rights then and against injustices today from Echoes of ‘Black Lives Matter is a Communist Movement’ heard from the U.S. to Australia.

“In the first place, wherever I’ve been in the world, the first to die in the struggle against Fascism were the Communists (…) I am not being tried for whether I am a Communist (…) You want to shut up every Negro who has the courage to stand up and fight for the rights of his people.”

Spoken by James Earl Jones. “Many African-American witnesses subpoenaed to testify at the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC) hearings in the 1950s were asked to denounce Paul Robeson (1888–1976) in order to obtain future employment. Robeson, an All-American football player and recipient of a Phi Beta Kappa key at Rutgers, received a law degree at Columbia. He became an internationally acclaimed concert performer and actor as well as a persuasive political speaker. In 1949, Robeson was the subject of controversy after newspapers reports of public statements that African Americans would not fight in “an imperialist war.” In 1950, his passport was revoked. Several years later, Robeson refused to sign an affidavit stating that he was not a Communist and initiated an unsuccessful lawsuit. In the following testimony to a HUAC hearing, ostensibly convened to gain information regarding his passport suit, Robeson refused to answer questions concerning his political activities and lectured bigoted Committee members Gordon H. Scherer and Chairman Francis E. Walter about African-American history and civil rights. In 1958, the Supreme Court ruled that a citizen’s right to travel could not be taken away without due process and Robeson’ passport was returned. ‘Paul Robeson was an actor, singer, civil rights activist, and a communist. Robeson laid the groundwork for the civil rights movement in the US and the capitalist powers tried to destroy him.'”

“Shut Up and Dribble” we’re told. We embrace all our heroes.

. . . because, it is our history and apart of the American history, in the aim to hold democracy accountable.

When the strong, intelligent and the upright among us stand up and speak, their tactics and accusations cannot match our prowess.

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