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Paul Robeson Mural and Awards Gala

The Paul Robeson mural sits on the side of our building to celebrate the outstanding artist-activist and reintroduce the efforts of an American master of the arts and civil activism to the present generation.

Paul thinking of continuing in law or pursuing a career in music.

The Mural

The mural concept stems from the Hung Tao Choy Mei Leadership Institute's efforts to introduce Paul Robeson to the present generation; and, re-introduce him to previous generations through HTCMLI's Paul Robeson "Here I Stand" Award gala at the Lincoln Theatre.

Lead muralists Cory Stowers and Andrew Katz, their artist conclave (Eric B. Ricks, Maria Miller, Serena Z, Ernesto Zelaya, Jaa), the funding of DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, and permission of the building owner brought Paul Robeson, larger than life, to 1351 U Street NW, Washington, DC 20009.

The chronology below is just the starting point in understanding the depth and indefatigable efforts of an American master of the arts and civil activism.

Read Robeson's autobiography ©1958; ©1971: Here I Stand  

Paul speaking at World Congress of Peace in Paris, France.

Paul Robeson (1898-1976)

Paul's father(link is external) born into slavery (1844) escapes with his brother via the Underground Railroad (1860), then enters Union Army. Paul's father attends Lincoln University & Seminary near Oxford, PA. He marries Maria Louisa Bustill in 1878, daughter of prominent African-American abolitionists. The family moves to Princeton, NJ and the father becomes a Presbyterian pastor.

  • 1917, 1918 All-American professional football player (while in college).
  • 1919 Valedictorian and Phi Beta Kappa Rutgers College; First African-American to play football at Rutgers.
  • 1920 Moves to Harlem, New York.
  • 1921 Marries DC-born medical chemist and activist Eslanda Cardozo Goode
  • 1923 Graduates Columbia Law School.
  • 1925 Body and Soul (film).1930 Borderline (film).
  • 1930 Othello, at The Savoy, London (theater).
  • 1933 The Emperor Jones (film).
  • 1936 Show Boat, Hollywood (film).
  • 1936 The Song of Freedom (film).
  • 1937 Jericho, London. Issued in the US as Dark Sands (film).
  • 1938 Entertains troops on front lines of Spanish Civil War. Well known in Wales for supporting miners' civil rights.
  • 1940 The Proud Valley, London. Issued in the US as The Tunnel (film).
  • 1942 Native Land (Robeson Narration and Song).
  • 1942 Criticized media for poor roles for Blacks in film, so stopped acting in films.
  • 1943-1944 Othello, Broadway (record breaking run).
  • 1949 World Congress of Advocates of Peace, Paris.
  • 1950 US State Department revokes passports of Robeson and his wife.
  • 1953 USSR Peace Prize.
  • 1958 Carnegie Hall Recital.
  • 1958 Kent v. Dulles : Supreme Court rules that the right to travel is inherent in the "right to liberty" and forces the US State Department to reinstate Robeson's passport.
  • 1958 Publishes the autobiography Here I Stand.
  • 1959 Last performance of Othello, Stratford on Avon, England (theater).
  • 1960 Retires from performing.
  • 1976 New York Times publishes an obituary.
  • 2003 Commemorated on US stamp.
HTCMLI Paul Robeson Here I Stand Award

HTCMLI Paul Robeson Awards Gala

In past years, HTCMLI has proudly hosted an extraordinary program at the Historic Lincoln Theatre on U Street NW, honoring outstanding artist-activists with an award inspired by the legendary Paul Robeson. This accolade recognizes individuals who use their creative talents to inspire change and promote equity, echoing Robeson's enduring legacy.

Past "Here I Stand" Awardees:

  • 2005: Harry Belafonte
  • 2006: Dick Gregory
  • 2007: Dr. John Hope Franklin
  • 2008: Judith Jamison
  • 2009: Rita Moreno
  • 2011: Spike Lee
  • 2012: Common
  • 2013: Chuck D

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