How Paul Robeson found his political voice in the Welsh valleys

Sparrow, Jeff

Publisher:  The Guardian
Date Written:  02/07/2017
Year Published:  2017  
Resource Type:  Article
Cx Number:  CX21064

Acclaimed stage actor, American football player, and political activist Paul Robinson became invovled with the Welsh mining labor movement in Rhondda Valley.



But Robeson had a talent for friendship, and the men were grateful for his support. He had remained with the protest until they stopped outside a city building, and then he leaped on to the stone steps to sing Ol' Man River and a selection of spirituals chosen to entertain his new comrades but also because sorrow songs, with their blend of pain and hope, expressed emotions that he thought desperate men far from home might be feeling.

Afterwards, he gave a donation so the miners could ride the train back to Wales, in a carriage crammed with clothing and food.

That was how it began. Before the year was out, he’d contributed the proceeds of a concert to the Welsh miners' relief fund; on his subsequent tour, he sang for the men and their families in Cardiff, Neath, and Aberdare, and visited the Talygarn miners' rest home in Pontyclun.
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