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Celebrating Black History Month: Connecticut’s Paul Robeson

Written by: Dylan Hebert (History, Class of 2017)Paul Robeson and his family in their Enfield home

Known as the most talented man of the twentieth century, Paul Robeson is famous for his role as a prominent singer, actor, social activist, athlete, and lawyer. He was the ultimate Renaissance man. Born in Princeton, New Jersey in 1898, his mother was a teacher and his father was a Presbyterian Minister, who escaped from slavery in 1860 at the age of fifteen through the underground railroad. Robeson’s mother died when he was just five years old and his father when he was only twenty. Earning a scholarship to attend Rutgers University, he excelled both academically as the class valedictorian and in sports as an All-American athlete. By twenty-four, he had graduated from Columbia Law School, funding his studies by playing for two seasons in the National Football League.