Paul Leroy Robeson ( ROHB-sən April 9, 1898 – January 23, 1976) was an African-American singer and actor who became involved with the Civil Rights Movement. At university, he was an outstanding American football player, then had an international career in singing, as well as acting in theater and cinema. He became politically involved in response to the Spanish Civil War, Fascism, and social injustices. His advocacy of anti-imperialism, affiliation with Communism, and his criticism of the US government caused him to be blacklisted during McCarthyism. Ill health forced him into retirement from his career. To the end he remained unapologetic for the unpopular political stances he took.
Robeson won an academic scholarship to Rutgers University, where he became a football All-American and the class valedictorian. He attended Columbia Law School, while playing in the National Football League (NFL). At Columbia, he sang and acted in off-campus productions and post-graduate, he became a participant in the Harlem Renaissance with performances in The Emperor Jones and All God's Chillun Got Wings. Robeson initiated his international artistic résumé with a theatrical role in Great Britain before settling in London for the next several years with his wife Essie.