239 : Building your Library # 9

In 1930 the reputation of Paul Robeson was widespread in America, and in Britain. A university sportsman, an actor, a singer, Robeson had starred in Show Boat in London in 1928. His wife Eslanda wrote Paul Robeson, Negro which was published by Harper in New York in 1930 (and in later editions). It had 16 photographs. The left-wing Victor Gollancz, who founded his London publishing enterprise in 1927, published Paul Robeson, Negro in 1930. It had 150+ pages and 16 pictures. The book was reprinted in America in 2018.

Robeson became famous for his political stance from the 1930s, and the 1930 book is something of an oddity in that he disliked his wife’s views and its very title suggests something of an eccentric view: but in 1930s biographies of black people were very rare.

It was available for £15 on websites in February 2020.

Index to Building Your Library


#  1         Neil Parsons, King Khama, Emperor Joe and the Great White Queen. Tswana 1895

#  2         Nancy Cunard

#  3         Leslie ‘Hutch’ Hutchinson

#  4         Samuel Coleridge-Taylor

#  5         Brew family of Ghana and London

#  6         Booker T Washington; Chief Alfred Sam

#  7         Wellesley Cole, Kossoh Town Boy and An Innocent in Britain

#  8         Ira Aldridge

#  9         Paul Robeson, Negro, 1927

# 10       The Black Abolitionist Papers, Vol 1

# 11       Jomo Kenyatta

# 12       Langston Hughes The Big Sea (1940) and Rampersad’s biography 1986, 1988

# 13       Percy Chen, China Called Me

# 14       Stimela Jingoes (Lesotho) recalled France in 1917; Herbert Julian Black Eagle memoir of a Trinidad aeroplane fanatic trained in 1910s England

# 15       Thomas L. Johnson, Twenty-eight Years a Slave (Bournemouth 1909)

# 16       Donald Hinds, Journey to an Illusion (1966).

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