Paul Robeson in Spain at the People’s History Museum

Polly Checkland Harding
Paul Robeson.

Paul Robeson in Spain at Number 70 Oxford Street, Manchester, 11 May 2017 - Book now

In 1930, Paul Robeson became the first black actor in a century to play the part of Othello; the previous production starring Shakespearean actor Ira Aldridge was closed on racist grounds by a pro-slavery lobby in 1825. By this time, Robeson – a lawyer, athlete, academic, singer, actor and campaigner – had reached international acclaim for performances including his role as Joe in the smash hit, groundbreaking musical Show Boat. Robeson was also a political activist, championing Black rights and political change; and, when the Spanish Civil war broke out, Robeson decided to get involved. Armed with cameras, pen, paper and his signature song ‘Ol’ Man River’ from Show Boat, Robeson made his way to the Spanish battlefields – via Manchester.

This event will explore Robeson’s role as a ‘glocal’ historian of the Spanish Civil War through a film screening and discussion curated by local historian Dominique Tessier; it’s the last in a series of events on Paul Robeson as part of the Humanities in Public Festival, including PR in China on 16 February. Through its focus on the use of “Art as a weapon for freedom”, Paul Robeson in Spain also aims to advocate the inclusion of art histories in the curriculum.


Paul Robeson in Spain at Number 70 Oxford Street, Manchester

11 May 2017 6:00 pm