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Sunday, January 23, 2011

Paul Robeson... A Person Who Changed Me Forever

When I get up every morning, I get out of bed, go to my comfortable chair in my study room, pick up my friend, Daryl Grigsby's wonderful book IN THEIR FOOTSTEPS, which contains "Inspirational Reflections on Black History for Every Day of the Year." Inspiring? It gets my blood warmed up and moving through my brain in very healthy ways!!
Sunday, January 23. I was delighted to see that the human being Mr. Grigsby focused on Sunday was Paul Robeson.I never met Mr. Robeson. I discovered him in

My intellectual world had fallen apart following the death of Dr. Martin Luther King, and at the ripe old age of twenty-nine I was working through some very tough questions: who am I, why am I here, what should I do with my life. Put another way, I needed help to understand how I could honestly chose to be a loving human being when Dr. King, who chose to be a loving servant of others, had been cruelly murdered.

I walked downtown to the Berkeley Public Library, started thumbing my way through the record collection there, saw this record with a picture of Paul Robeson on the front cover, and (thank God) took that record home, and, for the next seven days, played it over and over again.

Mr. Robeson touched my soul... calming me, enlightening me, encouraging me, and my very long journey where I was choosing to become a Black man, who thought deeply, spoke sincerely, and loved loyally, began.

Let me present a few lines from Grigsby' work: "Robeson astonished viewers with his talent. Yet it was his deep love for humanity, his unquenchable search for justice and his lifetime fight for human solidarity that set him apart."

On my dying day I shall still be trying to become a thoughtful, sincere, and loyal human being. But this wonderful man, Paul Robeson, took my hand and set me on the right path.

Please enjoy Mr. Paul Robeson's wonderful rendition, of the Freedom spiritual: Go Down Moses... "Go down, Moses, way down to Egypt land. Tell old Pharoah to let mey people go."

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