Shirley Graham publishes Paul Robeson: Citizen of the World, a biography written for young people.
January 7, 1946
Appears, with Marian Anderson, at rally for South African famine relief held under auspices of Council on African Affairs at Abyssinian Baptist Church, Harlem.
January 18, 1946
Gives concert at Oak Park-River forest High School, Oak Park, IL.
January 20, 1946
Sharing the stage with Cab Calloway, performs at mass rally, at DuSable High School, Chicago, in support of striking Packinghouse Workers.
January 23, 1946
Together with Albert Einstein, speaks and sings at mass rally in Madison, WI, on behalf of refugees in Spain.
Sings and speaks in Seattle, in program jointly sponsored by the Spanish Refugee Appeal and the Council on African Affairs.
March 5, 1946
Sings and speaks at San Francisco Opera House, accompanied by Lawrence
In his current town of residence, Enfield, CT, sings to audience of 900 at Enfield High School, as benefit for the Enfield Teachers Association’s fund for needy students.
April 5, 6, 7, 1946
Plays Othello at Denver Auditorium.
April 30, 1946
Gives concert at Orchestra Hall, Chicago, with 2,390 in attendance.
May 30, 1946
· Sings and speaks at the Win the Peace Rally, at Orchestra Hall, Chicago.
· ·Sings and speaks at testimonial dinner honoring Japanese-American war dead, held at Stevens Hotel, Chicago, 1,000 in attendance.
May 31, 1946
Speaks and sings to 10th Annual Convention of the National Negro Congress, in Detroit.
June 3, 1946
As Chairman of Council on African Affairs, publishes, in The New York Times, a statement entitled “A Message to America and the United Nations.” Calls for the admission of all African nations to the UN and poses some crucial questions: “Will the Union of South Africa’s legalized fascist-like practice of racial oppression be outlawed and that state’s mandate over South West Africa be revoked…and will America help free Africa? Or will it seek instead a larger share of the profits squeezed out of Africa’s oppressed people? America must answer!”
June 5, 1946
· Publishes article, “Africa--Continent in Bondage,” in the New York Herald-Tribune.
· Publishes article, “Food and Freedom for Africa,” in the Daily Worker.
June 6, 1946
Speaks at mass meeting “for African freedom” before 16,000 people at Madison Square Garden sponsored by Council on African Affairs, with many prominent Americans in attendance, including Mary McLeod Bethune, Norman Corwin, Judy Holliday, Lena Horne, and many more sending cables of support. Funds raised at the event are contributed to South African Famine Relief.
June 23, 1946
Speaks at New York State meeting of United Public Workers' Biennial
July 12, 1946
Sings at 7th Annual American Music Festival, as benefit for the Cook County Veterans Association, at White Sox Park, Chicago.
July 17, 1946
Joins picket line in support of Dodge workers’ strike in Windsor, Ontario,
singing to them and inspiring them to persist until their just demands
July 28, 1946
As Chairman of Council on African Affairs, sends telegram to President Truman on the lynching of four African Americans in Georgia, demanding “that the Federal Government take immediate effective steps to apprehend and punish the perpetrators of this shocking crime and to halt the rising tide of lynch law. Only when our government has taken such action toward protecting its own citizens can its role in aiding the progress of peoples of other countries be viewed with trust and hope.”
As Chairman of Council on African Affairs, organizes large picket line in front of South African Consulate to protest that government’s racist laws and the brutal massacre of South African miners during their historic strike. Also appeals to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, calling for investigation of racism in South Africa, to be followed by appropriate action by the Security Council.
September 4, 1946
Performs, along with Leadbelly, Sonny Terry and others, in benefit for the National Negro Congress.
September 6, 1946
In a Letter to the Editor, published in The New York Times, referring to apartheid, appeals “to my fellow Americans to make known their protest against such conditions to the South African Ministry in Washington; to send to the Council on African Affairs…an expression of support for these grievously oppressed workers in South Africa; to keep the South African situation in mind against the time when General Smuts will come to the United Nations Assembly…to demand the annexation of South West Africa, which means more Africans for him to exploit.” (Foner)
September 12, 1946
Speaks at massive rally against lynching, at Madison Square Garden, saying, in part, that the recent upsurge of lynching in the South “represents the ultimate limit of bestial brutality to which the enemies of democracy, be they German Nazis or American Ku Kluxers, are ready to go in imposing their will….What about it, President Truman? Why have you failed to speak out against this evil? When will the federal government take effective action to uphold our constitutional guarantees?….The leaders of this country can call out the Army and Navy to stop the railroad workers and the maritime workers----why can’t they stop the lynchers?”
September 23, 1946
Heads a protest of 3,000, at the Lincoln Memorial, for the American Crusade to End Lynching, a coalition of some fifty organizations from thirty-eight states and dozens of celebrities, including Albert Einstein. Following the rally, leads a multi-racial delegation to the White House to present a legislative and educational program to President Truman aimed at ending mob violence; demands that lynchers be prosecuted and calls on Congress to enact a federal anti-lynching law. Warns Truman that if the government doesn't do something to end lynching, "the Negroes will," and points out that the United States cannot logically take the lead in prosecuting Nazis at the Nuremberg War Crimes Trial while permitting African Americans to be lynched at home. Truman rejects the program and refuses Robeson's request for him to issue a formal public statement against lynching, using the excuse that it is not "the right time" for such action, meaning, in reality, that it would not be politically expedient. Robeson also gives address on radio, calling on all Americans of all races to demand that Congress pass laws to end the national disgrace of mob murder. (Foner)
Is elected Vice President of Civil Rights Congress.
Spends the month on the West Coast, speaking on radio, at community meetings, in churches and to a variety of union gatherings: to striking maritime workers on the Oakland waterfront, to the CIO in San Francisco, to Dishwashers’ Local 110, to Shipscalers & Painters Local 10 in Seattle, to the Marine Cooks & Stewards Union in Los Angeles, to the
October 7, 1946
Is questioned for several hours by the Joint Fact-Finding Committee on Un-American Activities (Tenney Committee), in California, for his activism on behalf of civil rights, labor rights and world peace. States that he is not a Communist and describes himself as an independent anti-Fascist and criticizes treatment of African Americans. Afterwards, decides that he will, as a matter of principle, never again answer that question. Following his appearance before the Committee, many concert halls are closed to him.
October 10, 1946
Speaks, as co-Chairman of National Committee to Win the Peace, at waterfront strike meeting in San Francisco, under auspices of Committee for Maritime Unity.
November 13, 1946
Gives concert at Temple Shalom, Chicago.
November 15, 1946
Is guest of honor at Founders Day Luncheon, on proposed home grounds of the DuSable community Center, Chicago.
November 19, 1946
Gives concert at the Armory, in Duluth, MN.
December 6, 1946
As Chairman of Council on African Affairs, sends letter to the US Delegation to the General Assembly of the United Nations, criticizing the US for not giving unqualified rejection of the proposal to annex South West Africa to the Union of South Africa, as well as for not supporting the Indian government’s complaint regarding discrimination against Indians in South Africa in clear violation of the United Nations Charter principles on racial equality.
December 29, 1946
Addresses Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, criticizing Western imperialism and discussing the possibility of a new third party
Testimonial dinner in Robeson’s honor, sponsored by Local 600, UAW in
January 19, 1947
Gives concert at Orchestra Hall, Chicago.
January 20, 1947
Speaking at a dinner given in his honor by the Detroit chapter of the National Negro Congress, announces his departure from the theater and concert stage in order to dedicate himself to the political struggle. States, in part, “The rich think they can stop the progress of the Negro people by taking one here and another there and lifting them up. They are very wrong. We Negroes stand with all other workers. I must take my artistic work away from its special place, back to the working people, to tie up my personal side with the cultural side of the workers.”
January 26, 1947
In St. Louis, joins picket line in front of Kiel Auditorium to protest racial segregation at the city’s theaters. Announces intention at conclusion of current tour to leave the professional theater and concert stage for
the next two years in order to “talk up and down the nation against race hatred and prejudice,” and to sing only for unions, colleges and progressive causes.
Tells reporters, “Some of us will have to speak up and appeal to the
people to respect the common rights of others. It seems that I must
raise my voice, but not just by singing pretty songs.”
Goes on 4-month cross-country concert tour, with Lawrence Brown.
Pickets, with Earl Robinson, against segregation at Ford’s Theatre, Washington DC.
February 18-22, 1947
Performs concert series at Moore Theatre, New York City.
Defiantly sings “Ballad of Joe Hill” to capacity audience at the University of Utah, in Salt Lake City, where the great labor leader Joe Hill was murdered by “the copper bosses.” This being the first time the song is sung on a local stage, the audience of 2,000 is stunned that a black man would dare to fling the charge of “murderer” at the “copper bosses” on their own turf. When the thunderous applause finally subsides, Robeson steps to the front of the stage and announces, “I’m retiring here and now from concert work---I shall sing, from now on, only at gatherings where I can sing what I please.”
March 7, 1947
Sings at Auditorium Theatre, Oakland, California.
March 28, 1947
Speaks to over 700 at meeting of the National Negro Congress, held in San Francisco.
April 18, 1947
Prevented from appearing in Peoria, Illinois, when Shriners cancel
contract for use of Shriner Mosque, City Council passes a resolution
barring Robeson because “no avowed or active propagandist for
un-American ideologies should appear in the city” and mayor refuses
to allow use of City Hall for concert. This marks the first time an
attempt is made to deprive people of their right to assemble to hear
Robeson. He asks reporters, “Since when in America does a city dare
to keep an artist out because of his political opinions?” Tells
them, “I have been all over the world, and the only time I have seen
hysteria reach these heights was in Spain under Franco and Germany
under Hitler.” This type of anti-democratic action against Robeson
quickly spreads to other US cities.
April 21, 1947
Speaks and sings at meeting sponsored by American Youth for Democracy, Chicago.
April 27, 1947
Addresses and sings to 3,500 at “Chicago Salutes Paul Robeson,” at the Civic Opera House, with Lena Horne and others paying tribute to Robeson, under auspices of the Abraham Lincoln School for Social Sciences.
Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity awards him its Alpha Medallion for his “outstanding role as a champion of freedom.”
May 9, 1947
After Board of Education of Albany, New York, cancels permission for Robeson concert at a local high school, mass public pressure induces Supreme Court Justice to order that the school be made available. By now, the ruling circles in the US have become so fearful of his influence on the masses of people, particularly the youth, that the judge imposes the restriction that he may only sing, but not speak, at the concert. Ignoring the American Legion’s call for a boycott of the performance and their picketing o the building, 1,100 attend the concert.
May 14, 1947
Sings and speaks at rally for Henry A. Wallace, presidential candidate of
the Progressive Party, at Chicago Stadium, with 22,000 in attendance.
May 16, 1947
Publishes article, “African Workers Are Revealed as ‘Least Privileged of All Mankind’,” in The Dispatcher.
· Gives four concerts in Panama for United Public Workers, Local 713, who are trying to organize Panamanian workers, predominantly Blacks. Ten thousand turn out. Donates proceeds from several subsequent concerts to establish a scholarship fund to educate Black teachers in Canal Zone.
· Sings to capacity house at Symphony Hall in Boston.
· Speaks at Southern Negro Youth Congress, Miami, FL.
· Speaks to 2,500 at Manhattan Center, New York City, at rally protesting investigations by the House Un-American Activities Committee.
June 29, 1947
Speaks and sings benefit concert for Local 22, Food & Tobacco Workers, mainly Blacks, in Winston-Salem, NC, who are trying to organize a union at R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company. Denounces Taft-Hartley Law designed to destroy unions.
Gives sell-out concert for 19,000 at Lewisohn Stadium, New York City.
August 21, 1947
Makes annual visit to Camp Wo-Chi-Ca, singing and playing softball with the kids.
September 5, 1947
Sings and speaks at Shrine Auditorium, Los Angeles, in concert sponsored by the Spanish Refugee Appeal, with proceeds going to enlarge a hospital in Toulouse, France, where patients are all refugees who fought against the fascists in the Spanish Civil War.
September 6, 1947
Is honored at gala luncheon given by the Cultural Division of the National Negro Congress, held at the home of Dorothy Dandridge in Los Angeles and attended by leaders in the theatrical and civic circles of the city.
September 11, 1947
Sings and speaks at Madison Square Garden rally sponsored by the Progressive Citizens of America. Appeals to the American people to “protect our true American tradition. Let us turn this country toward the course of history: a world of all the people,…a world where men of every race and creed may walk the earth in true dignity.”
September 22, 1947
Speaks at National Maritime Union Convention, the last to which he is invited, as union leadership under Joe Curran will later turn to the right and support the Cold War.
September 30, 1947
Performs lead role in dramatic musical pageant Music Americana---Spirituals to Swing, presented by American Youth for Democracy, at Orchestra Hall,
Throughout the month, sings and speaks at campaign rallies for Henry Wallace for President in
Trenton and Camden NJ, New Haven, CT, Baltimore, MD and Springfield, MA.
October 18, 1947
Receives award from Artists, Writers & Printing Workers’ Congress of Bucharest, Romania.
October 29, 1947
Is main speaker at mass meeting about Jim Crow in the courts, held at DuSable High School, Chicago.
Speaks and sings at several New York events in support of Panamanian UPW workers, helping to raise funds for their organizing efforts.
· Meets with 18 leaders of NAACP, to form coalition to coordinate anti-lynching efforts.
· After being denied access to public halls in East St. Louis, IL, sings at St. John’s CME Church.
November 1, 1947
Is honored guest at pre-election party of the Progressive Citizens of America, at Midland Hotel, Chicago.
November 21, 1947
Participates in program, “Who is Un-American? Hear First-Hand Account of the Hollywood Probes,” sponsored by the Civil Rights Congress, at Orchestra Hall, Chicago, with 400 in attendance.
December 9, 1947
Gives concert at Shaw University, Raleigh, NC.
December 20, 1947
Announces support for Henry A. Wallace as independent candidate for President of the US in opposition to Cold War policies of Truman Administration. Attends meeting to form Wallace For President Committee, out of which emerges Progressive Party. Sings and speaks at many campaign rallies throughout the country up to the November 1948 election.
· Sings and speaks at Rally for Free Palestine, at New York Polo Grounds.
· Pickets and sings for striking steel workers in Ishpeming, Michigan.
February 5, 1948
Speaks to over 1,000 delegates at the National Youth Assembly Against Universal Military Training, held at Metropolitan Baptist Church, Washington, DC.
February 22, 1948
Performs benefit concert, accompanied by Lawrence Brown, at Scottish Rite Auditorium, San Francisco, with participation of the California Labor School Chorus, with proceeds going to United Public Workers, Local 713, in Panama.
February 27, 1948
Sings and speaks at 2nd Baptist Church, Los Angeles, under auspices of CIO United Public Workers, the Los Angeles Civil Rights Congress and Local 558 of the State, County & Municipal Employees, AFL. Purpose of mass meeting and concert is to launch a community campaign against job discrimination, for passage of the federal Fair Employment Practices Act, anti-lynching and anti-poll tax legislation, and citizens’ action to defeat the witch-hunting county “loyalty purge.”
March 3, 1948
West Virginia authorities ban Paul Robeson: Citizen of the World from public libraries.
· Performs a benefit 15-concert tour of the Hawaiian Islands, with Earl Robinson and Lawrence Brown, in support of the ILWU’s organizing drive among pineapple and sugar cane workers.
· Transport Workers Union, bowing to right-wing, cold-war pressures, for first time in ten years, withdraws invitation to have Robeson attend its convention, despite his honorary life membership.
When 2,000 Ohio State University students defy school authorities’ refusal to allow Robeson on campus, he speaks and sings from back of flat-bed truck parked beside the campus.
Campaigns for Progressive Party and its candidate, Henry Wallace, around the country, including the South, on several occasions risking life and limb, after receiving death threats from the Ku Klux Klan. While campaigning in the South, leads the first major voter registration drive among African Americans since Reconstruction.
April 10, 1948
Attends 2nd Annual Convention of the Progressive Citizens of America and rally of 20,000 for the Progressive Party, at the Chicago Stadium, with Presidential Candidate Henry A. Wallace. The program, entitled “The Background of American Freedom,” is narrated by Studs Terkel and broadcast nationally over CBS Radio.
Seeks appointment with President Truman to again confer on anti-poll tax, anti-lynching and fair employment legislation, but repeated requests are rejected.
· Sings and speaks at May Day celebration, in Union Square, New York.
· Sings and speaks to 1,500 at Morning Star Baptist Church, Kansas City, MO.
May 20, 1948
Speaks, sings and reads Langston Hughes’ poem Freedom Train at convention of International Fur & Leather Workers’ Union, held in New York.
May 31, 1948
Appears before US Senate Judiciary Committee on HR5852, “An Act to Protect the United States Against Un-American and Subversive Activities” (Mundt-Nixon Bill, calling for the registration of Communist Party members). Opposes measure as violating civil rights of American citizens. When questioned about his CP affiliation, states, in part, “Some of the most brilliant and distinguished Americans are about to go to jail for the failure to answer that question, and I am going to join them, if necessary. I refuse to answer the question.” (Foner)
· Makes two appearances at Black churches in Atlanta and Macon, GA, for Progressive Party Campaign.
· Speaks at dinner for artists and writers, sponsored by Masses and Mainstream magazine, urging them to join the fight against the Mundt-Nixon Bill.
June 2, 1948
Leads delegation in Washington and marches to the White House, with over 6,000 to protest the Mundt-Nixon Bill and to demand civil rights legislation.
Sings and speaks at rally for the Wallace For President campaign, at Philadelphia’s Shibe Park, where 37,000 pay to hear Robeson, Wallace and others on the Progressive Party’s program.
July 28, 1948
This year's annual visit to Camp Wo-Chi-Ca includes the dedication of the Paul Robeson Playhouse, built by the campers, staff and union volunteers as "a place for workers' children to dance and sing." People come from miles around for the festivities, where the campers perform a play honoring Robeson, and he gives a concert for them.
· Speaks in Washington DC against the Taft-Hartley Bill.
· Walks picket line with United Public Workers, denouncing denial of civil rights in government.
August 5, 1948
Sings and speaks at National People’s Lobby rally, in Washington, and heads picketline in front of White House against Jim Crow; later in day, addresses huge crowd gathered at the Washington Monument.
August 21, 1948
Speaks and sings to ILWU members in San Francisco. (Foner)
Sings and speaks at rally for Wallace For President campaign, at Yankee Stadium, New York.
September 13, 1948
(Three appearances in one day!)
· Sings and speaks at mass rally of 5,000 at the Union Stockyards, Chicago, sponsored by the Packinghouse Workers For Wallace For President.
· Sings and speaks at rally of 1,000 at Corliss High School, Chicago, sponsored by the Steelworkers For Wallace For President.
· Sings and speaks at rally of 400 at the DuSable Community Center, Chicago, sponsored by the National Railroad Labor Committee For Wallace For President.
September 14, 1948
Speaks and sings at Progressive Party Rally for Henry A. Wallace for President, at Wrigley Field, Chicago, accompanied by a 65-piece "pick-up" orchestra of union musicians.
September 19, 1948
Sings and speaks at Civil Rights Congress reception honoring William L. Patterson, founder of the Abraham Lincoln School for Social Research, Chicago.
October 22, 1948
Gives concert at the Art Institute of Chicago.
Election results disappointing to Wallace supporters, but Robeson continues to support Progressive Party and its program against Cold War and for rights of labor and minorities.