Robeson, Paul (1898–1976)
Born in New Jersey, Robeson attended Rutgers University on scholarship, the third African American to do so. He won 15 varsity sports letters and graduated Phi Beta Kappa. He earned a law degree from Columbia University, while also playing in the National Football League, but quit law in 1923 after facing discrimination, and turned to theater, film, and music. He became a famous and influential actor and an internationally known singer whose credits include the lead in The Emperor Jones by Eugene O’Neill, and films Jericho, Show Boat (1936) and Tales of Manhattan (1942). He vocally supported racial equality and Pan-Africanism, for which the government accused him of communism during the McCarthy-led Red Scare, and inhibited his work. He published his autobiography in 1958.