Published April 1, 2023
The 2023 Black Quaker Lives Matter Film Festival & Forum will soon conclude with a finale dedicated to:
Renaissance man, scholar and athlete, star of screen, stage, and record studio, linguist and orator.
Paul Robeson descended from generations of US and UK Quakers through his mother, Maria Louisa Bustill Robeson, who died in a house fire before he entered primary school. Paul was raised by his father, an escapee from slavery in North Carolina.
A double-feature film showing, followed by expert speakers, will celebrate the 125th anniversary of Robeson's April 9 birthday.
The film festival will begin with a showing of the 1978 Academy Award-winning short documentary, Paul Robeson: Tribute to an Artist, narrated by Sidney Poitier. The second film screening will be the 1940 UK feature film, The Proud Valley, in which Robeson stars as a Black seaman joining a Welsh coal-mining community.
Robeson advocated for Black and working-class liberation around the world and built connections among Africans, African Americans, and people of the Caribbean. In the Cold War, he developed close relations with artists, leaders, and ordinary people in various socialist countries, including the USSR. The US government, economic institutions, and media united to take away Robeson’s livelihood and access to the public by seizing his passport for eight years, instituting an industry boycott of his records, and barring him from concert halls.
from Harold Weaver, The Black Quaker Project