1944 through 1945

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With W. C. Handy at Paul's forty-sixth birthday party, 1944.

1944 through 1945

1944 | January, 1944 | January 29, 1944 | March, 1944 | March 12, 1944 | April 2, 1944   
April 14, 1944
 | April 16, 1944 | May, 1944 | May 8, 1944 | May 20, 1944 | June 25-26, 1944  
  July 4, 1944 | September, 1944Fall, 1944 | December, 1944 | December 15, 1944 | 1945 
 February 19, 1945 | March 29, 1945 April, 1945 | April 10 to May 19, 1945 | April 27, 1945  
 May 3, 1945 | May 10, 1945 | May 13, 1945 |May 15, 1945 | May 19, 1945 June 6, 1945 
 June 17, 1945 | June 19, 1945 | June 20, 1945 | June 25, 1945 | August, 1945 | Fall 1945  September, 1945 | October 18, 1945 | November 14, 1945 | November 25, 1945 | Bibliography

Continues activities on behalf of the war effort, appearing at bond rallies and participating in programs for the Office of War Information and the War Production Board.

January 23, 1944
Is made honorary member of State, County & Municipal Workers of America.

January 29, 1944
Appears in the special sports stars’ radio broadcast on behalf of the Fourth War Bond Drive. His fellow speakers are Babe Ruth and Jack Dempsey.

March, 1944
Cancels recital in Baltimore because Lyric Theatre is segregated. 

March 12, 1944
Speaks at Sun Yat-Sen Day Tribute, at Metropolitan Opera House, New York City. (Foner)

April 2, 1944
Receives award from National Federation for Constitutional Liberties, for his “outstanding contribution toward building international unity within our country and throughout the world.” The awards dinner is held at the Roosevelt Hotel, New York, with 800 in attendance.

April 14, 1944

Presides at “Conference on Africa---New Perspectives,” at the Institute for International Democracy, New York City, under auspices of Council on African Affairs, organized to draft program for Africa’s post-war liberation and advancement. (Foner)

April 16, 1944
Celebration of Robeson’s 46th birthday and the anniversary of the Council on African Affairs, at the Armory in New York, is attended by 12,000, with 4,000 more being turned away for lack of space. Robeson urges audience to exert pressure on US government to intervene on behalf of freedom and self-government for African countries, saying, in part, “It is impossible to keep 150 million Africans in slavery and think we can be free here.” Five hours of entertainment include Count Basie and his band, Jimmy Durante, W.C. Handy, Mary Lou Williams and Duke Ellington and his orchestra, Hazel Scott, Josh White, Pearl Primus, Howard DaSilva and Zero Mostel. Many celebrities speak in praise of Robeson, and hundreds more send messages, some of which are read at the event. Mary McLeod Bethune’s greeting hails Robeson as “the tallest tree in our forest.”

May, 1944

· Is made honorary member of International Fur and Leather Workers’ Union at its biennial convention, "In recognition of your magnificent contribution to the struggle of humanity, particularly the Negro people, against oppression, intolerance, reaction and fascism, for liberty, equality and progress of all mankind.".

· Article entitled “America’s No. 1 Negro,” in American Magazine, says: “Paul Robeson broke the back of prejudice to command recognition as a football star, lawyer, concert singer and actor. Today he has won top triumphs for his magnificent portrayal of Shakespeare’s Othello.”

May 8, 1944

State, County and Municipal Workers, CIO, establishes Paul Robeson Scholarship Fund at New York University, to educate black students in business management.

May 20, 1944

Is awarded the Gold Medal for the best diction in American theater, presented by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

June 25-26, 1944
Robeson, together with Mary McLeod Bethune, Robert C. Weaver, William H. Hastie, Canada Lee and many other Black leaders and sympathetic white trade unionists, form a Citizens’ Political Action Committee, an affiliate of the CIO.

July 4, 1944

Receives Billboard magazine’s coveted Donaldson Award for the best acting performance in 1944, for his role in Othello.

September, 1944

Begins 36-week, US-Canada tour of Othello, playing in 45 cities, with Southern states omitted, except for Negro colleges and integrated audiences. Receives rave reviews everywhere.

Fall, 1944

Stomps for Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s re-election campaign.

December, 1944

Plays Othello to 4,000 at Shrine Auditorium, Des Moines, IA.

December 15, 1944

In letter to President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Secretary of State Edward Stettinius, referring to the nascent United Nations, urges that “the promotion of the welfare of the millions of Africans and other dependent peoples of the world must be an integral part of the international organization’s program and function” and that the organization “make adequate provision for the progressive advancement of the peoples of Africa so that they may play their full part in a system of world-wide democracy and prosperity.” (Foner)


· Receives citation from National Negro Museum and Historical Foundation “for courage and devotion to the ideals upon which American democracy was founded.”

· Speaks and sings at World Freedom Rally, at Madison Square Garden, New York City.

February 19, 1945

Opens in Othello at Geary Theatre, San Francisco. On many evenings following the performance, drops in at the CIO Canteen, the only non-segregated one in town, to chat with and sing to the servicemen.

March 25, 1945  
Sings and speaks at a Unity Rally, at Civic Auditorium, San Francisco.

March 29, 1945
Sings and speaks to ILWU Convention in San Francisco. (Foner)

April, 1945

· Wins award from Negro Newspaper Publishers’ Association.

· Gives benefit concert at Lincoln Auditorium, Syracuse, NY, sponsored by New York State Nurses’ Association.

· Becomes Co-Chairman of the National Committee to Win the Peace.

April 10-May 19, 1945

Plays Othello at Erlanger Theatre in Chicago, receiving rave reviews from theater critics. While there, manages to also make several political appearances, speaks to the students and faculty at the University of Chicago and at several local high schools, and spends the five Sunday mornings speaking and singing at both Black and white churches and at synagogues.

April 22, 1945  
· Speaks at Temple Shalom, Chicago, reporting on the United Nations 
conference then being held in San Francisco. 

· Speaks at the memorial tribute to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt 
(d. April 12, 1945), sponsored by the Independent Citizens’ Committee of the Arts, Sciences and Professions, Chicago. Begins speech by reading Carl Sandburg’s
 ode to Roosevelt. 

April 27, 1945

Is featured speaker at United Nations Day event in Chicago sponsored by United Packinghouse Workers (CIO), with 5,000 in attendance.

May 3, 1945
Sings and speaks at assembly at Austin High school, Chicago, 
for the “7th War Loan Sendoff.”

May 10, 1945
Speaks at luncheon of Chicago Chapter of National Lawyers Guild, with 300 members attending.

May 13, 1945

Attends membership meeting of United Auto Workers Local 453, Chicago, and is made honorary member.

May 15, 1945
Is guest speaker at all-campus rally, at the University of Chicago, on the importance of the United Nations Conference.

May 19, 1945
Reports back on United Nations Conference on International Organization, held in San Francisco, to a meeting sponsored by the South Side Committee on African and Colonial Affairs, Chicago.

June 6, 1945

Receives Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Howard University, Washington, DC. At ceremony, sings Ballad for Americans.

June 17, 1945

Speaks on "The United Nations on the March," at tribute to Franklin Delano Roosevelt, sponsored by the Du Sable Lodge, International Workers Order, Chicago.

June 19, 1945

Sings and speaks at 7th War Bond Rally, Morrison Hotel, Chicago.

June 20, 1945

Sings and speaks to stockyard workers at Wilson Meat Packing Plant, Chicago.

June 25, 1945

Sings and speaks at Madison Square Garden Rally for a permanent Fair Employment Practices Commission (FEPC), against poll tax, and for elimination of other obstacles to equality for African American people.

August, 1945

· Speaks and sings at peace rally sponsored by Mine, Mill and Smelter Workers Union (CIO) at Apex Smelting Company, Chicago.

· Goes to Europe, as part of first interracial overseas USO-sponsored camp show for troops, in a month-long tour of 32 appearances. Is deeply disturbed by visits to sites of Nazi concentration camps and by the Allies’ hostility to the Soviet Union.

Fall, 1945
Publishes article, “Some Reflections on Othello and the Nature of Our Time,” in The American Scholar, official journal of Phi Beta Kappa, his fraternity while at Rutgers University.

September, 1945
Begins 7-month national concert tour, with Lawrence Brown.

October 18, 1945

Is awarded the prestigious Spingarn Medal, “for the highest achievement of an American Negro,” the top honor given each year by NAACP. At ceremony, held at the Biltmore Hotel, in NYC, NAACP Secretary Walter White, says, “No honest American, white or Negro, can sit in judgment of a man like Robeson unless and until he has sacrificed time, talent, money and popularity in doing the utmost to root out the racial and economical evils which infuriate men like Robeson.” Robeson shocks his audience of 700 when he suggests that the United States should seek peaceful coexistence with the USSR and the "creation of a world where people, whether white or black or brown, can live in peace and harmony and where resources can be used for the good of all, for the advancement of mankind."

November 14, 1945

Speaks at World Freedom Rally at Madison Square Garden, sponsored by the National Council of American-Soviet Friendship.

November 25, 1945

Speaks at meeting of the Commission on Justice and Peace of the Central Conference of American Rabbis, in New York.

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