From Broadway to the barn: Paul Robeson on campus

With the support of the ASSU, the illustrious singer, actor, and Civil Rights activist Paul Robeson gave his first concert at Stanford University in 1931. (Unbelievably, the student tickets were offered for $1.) Robeson returned to the campus as part of another ASSU concert series on December 1, 1941. In the 1941 ASSU report, the student manager exclaimed that “our star artist was of course Paul Robeson, and his tremendous popularity is unquestionable; we even had 100 seats on the stage for his concert. One unique feature of Robeson’s concert was his singing ‘Ballad for Americans’ with the University Choir; this proved to be a great hit with the entire audience.” Robeson’s appearances at Stanford testify to students’ invested interest in the arts and their open-mindedness before the Civil Rights era.


Featured image: cover of Paul Robeson program, part of the ASSU concert series, 1931