Paul Robeson (born 1898) was one of the greatest Americans of the 20th century, on account of his extraordinary contributions and achievements on many fronts - acting, singing, the theatre, social and civil rights activism. Towards the later part of his life Robeson lived a somewhat reclusive life, in Philadelphia. The battles he waged throughout his life, leading up to and including his battles with the US government, left Robeson exhausted and it was this, in part, that led to him living his life away from public view. Notwithstanding his reclusiveness, Robeson remained a much loved and much respected figure and Charles White captured Robeson as a man of dignity, resolve and destiny, in his circular drawing of the man.
This drawing of Robeson was used on the cover of Salute to Paul Robeson: A Cultural Celebration of His 75th Birthday. The book was, as its title indicated, published on the occasion of Robeson's 75th birthday, in 1973. The book was part pictorial biography, part celebration of Robeson's life and work, part compendium of accolades, part decade-by-decade visual and written narrative of Robeson's 20th century, from the 1920s through to the 1960s. Also included were extracts on writings about and by Robeson.
Robeson was truly a global personality, who was a world citizen as much as he was a US citizen. Nowhere in Salute to Paul Robeson: A Cultural Celebration of His 75th Birthday was this more evident than in the "Birthday Greetings to Paul Robeson" section, which included fulsome greetings and salutations from figures such Indira Gandhi, Prime Minister of India, Julius K. Nyerere, President of Tanzania, Michael Manley, Prime Minister of Jamaica, Imamu Amiri Baraka, Chairman, Congress of Afrikan People, and Arthur Ashe.
This attractive publication was published by the Paul Robeson Archives, Inc.