In Everything Man: The Form and Function of Paul Robeson
(Duke University Press, 2020), Shana Redmond explores the ways in which Paul Robeson, silenced by state repression in his lifetime, still speaks to us today.
Through explorations of Robeson’s genre-defying genius as well as reflections on how Robeson’s legacy continues today, Redmond re-contextualizes Robeson as a thoroughly contemporary figure. Robeson’s brutal mistreatment by the US government provides a case study in how far our supposed democracy will go to crush dissent, particularly black radical dissent.
Still, his vision of anti-racism grounded in global solidarity and anti-capitalism is perhaps more necessary now than ever. Redmond points out that the word that Robeson sang about Joe Hill are true also of him: “I never died, said he.”
is Professor, Global Jazz Studies Musicology, UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music.
Andy Boyd is a playwright based in Brooklyn, New York. He is a graduate of the playwriting MFA program at Columbia University, Harvard University, and the Arizona School for the Arts. His plays have been produced, developed, or presented at IRT, Pipeline Theatre Company, The Gingold Group, Dixon Place, Roundabout Theatre, Epic Theatre Company, Out Loud Theatre, Naked Theatre Company, Contemporary Theatre of Rhode Island, and The Trunk Space. He is currently working on a series of 50 plays about the 50 U.S. states. His website is AndyJBoyd.com, and he can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org.