“Speak of Me As I Am – A Tribute to Paul Robeson,” written and performed by KB Solomon.
Host: Donna Walker
Airdate: Part 1, 4/04/09, 7:00 am – 8:00 am
Airdate: Part 2, 4/11/09, 7:00 am – 8:00 am
Today, we celebrate the birthday of the late/great cultural icon and political activist Paul Robeson with a two-part presentation of KB Solomon’s one-man musical, “Speak of Me As I Am – A Tribute to Paul Robeson. Born April 9th, 1898, in Princeton, New Jersey, the son of a runaway slave, Paul Robeson achieved celebrity status in an era when it was nearly impossible for a black man to succeed, earning more than most of his contemporaries. A world-renowned actor, singer and motion picture star, even more significantly, Robeson sacrificed his time, popularity, fortune, and talent in making a stand for human rights. An often-forgotten hero of the civil rights' movement and a victim of McCarthyism, he was blacklisted and rendered a non-person. In “Speak of Me As I Am – A Tribute to Paul Robeson,” actor/singer/playwright KB Solomon seeks to spotlight Robeson’s lifelong activism. Says Solomon, even though Robeson’s centennial was celebrated in over eighty countries worldwide, the average American today barely knows who he is or the sacrifices he make in combating America’s social ills. In this one-man musical, Robeson returns from the "great beyond" to give an account of the stand he took in his day for liberty and justice for all. We preface Part 1 with a birthday greeting from the legendary Pete Seeger and conclude Part 2 with historic audio culled from the Pacifica Radio Archives. A 1958 interview with KPFA’s Elsa Knight Thompson, is followed by a stirring serenade honoring Robeson from the miners of South Wales.
Copies can be ordered through the Pacifica Radio Archives at www.pacificardioarchives.org