Haiti: Robeson

Paul Robeson.

Yes, and a French general named Le Clerc was also sent against Ho Chi Minh, but like the blacks of Haiti, the plantation workers of Indo-China have also proved unconquerable.

Paul Robeson, “Ho Chi Minh is Toussaint L’Ouverture of Indo-China,” Freedom (March 1954)

Paul Robeson was keen to make a film, but wanted one which would ‘interpret fully the spirit of the negro race’. His wish was fulfilled in 1934 when he embarked for Moscow to meet Russian film maker Sergei Eisenstein to shoot a film about the Haitian revolutionary and leader of a slave rebellion Toussaint L’Ouverture.

Harold Wilson, “I Must Keep Fighting,” Socialist Review (December 2003)

In 1936 CLR James decided to produce a play, Toussaint L’Ouverture, from his drafted manuscript, casting Paul Robeson in the title role. It was a magnificent part for Robeson, given the severe limits he found as a black man seeking dramatic roles; but there were other political considerations which lay behind James’s decision to stage the play at London’s Westminster Theatre. It was planned as an intervention in the debates surrounding the Ethiopian crisis.

Anna Grimshaw, C.L.R. James: A Revolutionary Vision for the 20th Century (1991)

In gratitude to Paul Robeson in whose interpretation of ‘Brutus Jones‘ I have found the most complete satisfaction an author can get — that of seeing his creation born into flesh and blood!

Eugene O’Neill quoted in Paris H. Qualles, “What Price A Star?: Paul Robeson vs. Hollywood Chamber of Commerce,” The Crisis (August-September, 1979)

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  1. Posted September 20, 2011 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

    Paul Robeson and Haiti: http://t.co/irHH1SVH #haiti #archives

  2. Posted September 20, 2011 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

    Haiti: Robeson http://t.co/9PAmLKBG via @public_archive

One Trackback

  • By Radical Black Reading/Reading Haiti, 2012 on January 9, 2013 at 11:40 pm

    […] drama. His play was written in 1934, staged in 1936 at London’s Westminister Theatre – with Paul Robeson starring – and lost until a draft was rediscovered in 2005 by historian Christian Høgsbjerg, who […]

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