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Here I Stand Paperback – January 1, 1998


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Here I Stand + Paul Robeson Speaks: Writings, Speeches, and Interviews, a Centennial Celebration + The Undiscovered Paul Robeson , An Artist's Journey, 1898-1939
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Beacon Press (January 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0807064459
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807064450
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.3 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #334,450 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

No one had more to lose in following his political convictions than Paul Robeson. Here I Stand, originally published in 1958, was Robeson's response to the questions about why his mission--to win the freedom of black people everywhere--incited so much hatred and fear in his country.

Following Sterling Stuckey's 1988 introduction and Lloyd L. Brown's 1971 preface, both providing invaluable commentary, Robeson begins with his recollection of a Princeton boyhood. The roots of his world-view that would ultimately be his undoing were set down there. "Throughout his youth, Robeson's father [a pastor in the A.M.E. Zion Church] insisted on 'personal integrity,' which included the idea of 'maximum human fulfillment.'" Indeed, to list Robeson's achievements while attending university is to be in awe of a fabulously endowed man, bent on living out his father's edicts, and achieving his magnificent potential.

As his fascination with the Soviet Union grew, he began to attract the notice of McCarthy's watchdogs. He had begun to draw parallels between the Soviet social "experiment," which brought a whole underclass into the 20th century, and the emerging nations of Africa. In the early '40s, he reached the height of his performing career ("Robeson's Othello was more authentic than that of any other actor of his time"), but soon thereafter, he would set aside his brilliant career and commit fiercely to the struggle for black liberation. In 1949, it would all come crashing down, and for a decade, an ugly, active campaign against Robeson reigned, stemming not from the growing radicalization of his beliefs, but from the turning tide of cold war politics. W.E.B. DuBois, also a victim of the Communist witch-hunts noted, "He is without doubt today, as a person, the best known American on earth, to the largest number of human beings. His voice is known in Europe, Asia and Africa, in the West Indies and South America and in the islands of the seas. Children on the streets of Peking and Moscow, Calcutta and Jakarta greet him and send him their love. Only in his native land is he without honor and rights."

Lloyd L. Brown helped Robeson write Here I Stand, and he crafted the tone, which is at once accessible and impassioned, originally aimed at the black religious community. Highly idealistic, passionately exhorting, deeply committed to the "common people," this Paul Robeson gem remains a vital challenge to the racism that still dogs American society. -- Hollis Giammatteo

Review

This amazing man, this great intellect, this magnificent genius with his overwhelming love of humanity is a devastating challenge to a society built on hypocrisy, greed and profit-seeking at the expense of common humanity. -The New York Times

"[Robeson's] nobility, his language, his encouragement and his praise put me forever in his debt because it inspired me fully . . . to be like him, and to use my life as he had used his, to put into it the commitment of the liberation of his people and all people." -Harry Belafonte in Restoring Hope

"Robeson's book is a perennial, first published in 1958, and now a voice from a different time. It anticipates for black persons the 'moral support of the American majority' with an intensity that now seems evangelical. It's full of a probably tragic hope. It should be read." -The Boston Globe

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Customer Reviews

Paul Robeson is one of the most amazing singers, in so many genres.
Amazon Customer
Robeson’s candid account of his early years is a must read for students and anyone interested in learning about the formation of Paul Robeson.
Elton Weaver
Lots of fun, which will make you a Toby Peters fan when you read SMART MOVES.
Nash Black

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

33 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Seven of Nine, Tertiary Adjunct of Unimatrix 01 on April 2, 2007
Format: Paperback
Paul Robson was the son of an escaped slave. He earned 15 Varsity letters in sports at Rutgers in Baseball, Basketball, Football and Track and Field, and graduated from Rutgers in 1919 as valedictorian. He then attended and graduated form Columbia Law School in 1923 and after a brief time practicing law he pursued a career in the arts as a singer and actor. If there ever was an American Renaissance man it was Paul B. Robeson. How does a man with all these talents become a socialist?

Here I stand sheds light on the complexity of Paul Robeson and reveals a lot about who he was especially his strong sense of social justice. He was one of the first artists who became a political activist. Yes before Bono there was Robeson. He not only gave millions of his own money he also raised funds to help the poor and causes he believed in; he supported factions against Franco in the Spanish Civil war, raised money for refugees from Hitler's regime and he lobbied President Truman to support anti-lynching Legislation. He was known for supporting socialist causes; at the time socialist causes included the eight hour work day, abolishing child labor, programs to feed and care for the poor and elderly before our country had unemployment and social security.

Here I Stand his personal examination of his own philosophy and reading it makes you wonder what Black men of his generation could have achieved if they had been born after the civil rights movement. My grandfather was a communist organizer and lived in St. Louis, Missouri. My father met Robeson as a boy. Some Black people, like Robeson and my grandfather, embraced communism because it offered hope.
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30 of 33 people found the following review helpful By AnimalLuVer on March 14, 2005
Format: Paperback
The life of Paul Robeson is a story worth telling and hearing by all. Whether of not one agrees with all of the places in which he journeyed in search of truth, we should and must recognize his strength in traveling against the mindless tides of the time and his unwillingness to merely be blown along by the strongest winds -- as so many are today.

Speaking of which, I must cite the slanderous "review" of 8 January 2001 by an, of course, "anonymous" naysayer who seems forever mired in the days of McCarthy's cold war rhetoric, hatred, and mindless babbling. Please note that the cold war is over, and even when it was on, we were ill-served by the kind of dimwitted buffoonery which branded anyone who dared have an opinion of his own as an enemy of the state.

Sadly, that kind of blatant fascist lunacy has come to rule America again.

This is the perfect time for this story to be told.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Tichaona M. Chinyelu on April 25, 2006
Format: Paperback
I was expecting to read an autobiography of Paul Robeson but in the first few pages, he clearly informs the reader that the book being read is not an autobiography. And it's not, although it deals with facets of his life. The book focuses more on exploring how Paul Robeson came to hold his strong political beliefs.

As a student of African history (of the diaspora and Africa itself), the most valuable thing about this book, at this writing, is how ahead of his time Robeson was. Before learning about Africa, or learning African languages became the cultural phenonemon it is in some circles, Robeson was doing it. He wasn't doing it simply to expand his repetoire of songs or for any other self-serving reason. He was doing it because he understood that being able to communicate with people in their own language works wonders in being able to develop a genuine rapport. He also did as an extension of his understanding that the centuries long condition of slavery had deprived him of a correct perception of Africa and African people.

I finished this book with an increased respect for his personality, his character, his devotion to African people and last but not least, his intelligence. Paul Robeson's life is an example to progressive artists who aim to have their art serve their people's struggle, not just be a vehicle for personal expression.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Ahmed Chronwell on January 15, 2002
Format: Paperback
Paul Robeson was a proud man. A man of bravery, intelligence and integrity. He was a man who had to walk alone, as men must do sometimes. He formed his own opinions, defined his own ideology, and stood up for that ideology when confronted. Faced with hatred the way he was, many men would give in and surrender, Mr. Robeson refused to do this. He walked the road that Malcolm X, Nelson Mandela, and Michael Jordan walked and he lived to tell it like he saw it. All the kids who live in poverty should know that education is the key to being your own person, if you need a guide, read Here I Stand.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 10, 2002
Format: Paperback
Every Community has its mythological heroes. Paul Robeson not only projected a positive image for millions of African Americans during his era, but had an undeniable genuis. In this case, the reality lived up to the myth of the man. In this book, we have an opportunity to hear his own side of the story, in his own words.
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13 of 17 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 12, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Good book for anyone who wants to learn about this unsung american hero. When will history books teach the youth of our country about this man?
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