Inspiring quotes by Paul Robeson

The top 10 most inspiring quotes by Paul Robeson

  • The answer to injustice is not to silence the critic but to end the injustice.
  • Every artist, every scientist, every writer must decide now where he stands. The artist must take sides. He must elect to fight for freedom or for slavery. I have made my choice. I had no alternative.
  • Artists are the gate keepers of truth. We are civilization’s radical voice.
  • I shall take my voice wherever there are those who want to hear the melody of freedom or the words that might inspire hope and courage in the face of fear. My weapons are peaceful, for it is only by peace that peace can be attained. The song of freedom must prevail.
  • My father was a slave, and my people died to build this country and I am going to stay here and have a part of it just like you.
  • Art is not just to show life as it is, but to show life as it should be.
  • To be free . . . to walk the good American earth as equal citizens, to live without fear, to enjoy the fruits of our toil, to give our children every opportunity in life–that dream which we have held so long in our hearts is today the destiny that we hold in our hands.
  • The faces and the tactics of the leaders may change every four years, or two, or one, but the people go on forever.
  • I do not hesitate one second to state clearly and unmistakably: I belong to the American resistance movement which fights against American imperialism, just as the resistance movement fought against Hitler.
  • As an artist I come to sing, but as a citizen, I will always speak for peace, and no one can silence me in this.

Paul Robeson (1898–1976) was a towering figure in 20th-century American history, known for his multifaceted talents as an actor, singer, athlete, and civil rights activist. Born in Princeton, New Jersey, Robeson excelled academically and athletically, becoming a standout football player at Rutgers University and later attending Columbia Law School.

However, it was his commanding presence and rich bass-baritone voice that catapulted him to fame. Robeson gained international acclaim for his performances in stage productions like “Show Boat” and “Othello,” breaking racial barriers in the entertainment industry. His rendition of “Ol’ Man River” became iconic.

Robeson was also an outspoken advocate for civil rights and social justice, using his platform to fight against racism and colonialism. He aligned himself with leftist causes, which led to scrutiny and persecution during the McCarthy era. Despite facing blacklisting and surveillance by the FBI, Robeson remained steadfast in his activism.

In later years, Robeson’s health declined, but his legacy endured. He left an indelible mark on American culture, remembered not only for his artistic contributions but also for his unwavering commitment to equality and human rights.

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