The Freedom Journal Gave A Platform To Black Activists

Paul Robeson
Leslie Taylor-Grover
March 20, 2021

Paul Robeson was an incredible actor and singer as well as a celebrated scholar and athlete. Above all, however, there was one thing about him that was much more important to 1950s America.

Robeson was an outspoken Civil Rights activist. He rebuked America’s racism and white supremacy, then took it even further – visiting communist countries and making friends with global leaders sympathetic to the Civil Rights Movement. He even won a peace prize for his work!

Those who dared to speak out against white supremacy often lost their livelihoods, but Robeson was undaunted. He co-founded a newspaper called Freedom Journal, and there Robeson encouraged Black readers to fight against white oppression. But the U.S. government was not happy.

Though the government tried its best to hurt Robeson’s career by accusing him of treason, they ultimately failed. But that may not have been their only attempt.

Robeson left the country, but soon fell seriously, mysteriously ill. His son believes the CIA secretly drugged him and destroyed his health!

We can't forget how our outspokenness against systems of oppression have been met with accusations of criminal activity, treason, and punishment through censorship. As Robeson demonstrated, that cannot mean we stop speaking the truth about our conditions in this country. History rewards our bravery!

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