Ed Driscoll

MORE ON ROBESON, this time

MORE ON ROBESON, this time from Dave Kopel, who writes in the Rocky Mountain News:

“The U.S. Postal Service has announced a new stamp honoring black entertainer Paul Robeson. According to an Associated Press article by Jennifer C. Kerr (Post, Nov. 24), Robeson ‘was labeled a subversive for his mid-century activism against racism and anti-Semitism.’


Sen. Hubert Humphrey and former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt were mid-century activists against racism and anti-Semitism, and they were not labeled as subversives. Robeson was labeled as a subversive because he was one. Robeson was a card-carrying member of the Communist Party USA, which was under the direct control of the Soviet Union. Robeson was a fervent admirer of Josef Stalin, even after Stalin’s genocidal tyranny became well-known.

When Stalin died in 1953, Robeson eulogized the ‘Beloved Comrade’ for his ‘deep humanity’ and ‘his wise understanding,’ which left ‘us a rich and monumental heritage.’

Robeson supported the Soviet invasions of Finland and Poland in 1939, and until Hitler violated the Hitler-Stalin Pact, Robeson urged Americans to refuse to support the democracies that were under fascist attack. It is also disgusting for the AP to call Robeson an activist against anti- Semitism even though Robeson traveled to Moscow in 1949 to support Stalin at the height of Stalin’s anti-Jewish pogrom.

Or to paraphrase something Mark Steyn recently wrote:

Though [AP] won’t tell you the answer to that famous question “Are you now or have you ever…?”–the answer is: yes, he was. The more interesting question is: How do you feel about getting one of the great moral questions of the century wrong?