Paul Robeson: Communists Should Not Apologise!


British (Black) Boxer Len Johnson (1902-1974) and Paul Robeson


Len Johnson was a Black British boxer from Manchester, England, who despite winning more than 90 professional boxing matches, never fought for a British title. This was because the British Boxing Board of Control – the official body that regulates the sport of boxing in the UK – did not, at that time, allow non-White boxers to fight in a title contest. This ‘colour bar’ (as it existed in Britain) stated that only ‘White’ men born in the UK were considered ‘British’, and only these kinds of men could fight one another for a British title. Despite being a very talented boxer, the racism he faced continuously both inside and outside the ring in the UK made it very difficult for him to make much of a living from the sport within which he excelled. This is why he eventually gave-up fighting after WWII – and joined the Communist Party of Great Britain – as a means to fight for social justice and bring an end to racism. Along with fellow British Communists Wilf Charles and Syd Booth (the latter being a veteran of the Spanish Civil War), Len Johnson helped establish the New International Society in Moss Side (Manchester), which advocated the universal application of Human Rights to all people regardless of their skin-colour, gender, religion or ethnic background. The NIS became a very active and prominent anti-racist and civil rights organisation in post-WWII Britain, taking-on and exposing many attempts to apply racist employment policies and other forms of unjust discrimination throughout the UK. In fact, Len Johnson had met Paul Robeson in 1932 in Manchester – where Robeson had encouraged him to legally fight the racism of the British Boxing Board of Control. From that encounter onwards, Len Johnson had nothing but praise for Paul Robeson, particularly as Robeson had made it clear to Johnson that if he could fight so well inside the ring, he could apply his mind to fight equally well outside of it! The pair met again in Manchester on May 10th, 1949 at a NIS meeting designed to discuss the American case of the Trenton Six.

Source: Paul Robeson – A Watched Man – By J Goodman

Beijing: 110th Celebration of Paul Robeson’s Birthday in Photographs (2008)



Original Chinese Language Article By:

(Translated by Adrian Chan-Wyles PhD)

April 9th, 2008, was the 110th anniversary of Paul Robeson’s birth. In order to commemorate and cherish this old friend who had stood firmly on the side of China, (using his own singing and acting in support of the Chinese people’s struggle against imperialist aggression), Chinese and foreign friends celebrated the 110th anniversary of Paul Robertson’s birthday, gathering in Soong Ching Ling’s (宋庆龄) former residence.


Paul Robeson (1898-1976) was a famous Black-American singer, leader of the US Civil Rights Movement, international peace warrior, and friend of the Chinese people. During the War of Resistance against Japan, he was invited by Soong Ching Ling to serve as a honorary member of the ‘Defend China Alliance’, whilst actively participating in charity work, raising funds for the ‘Protection Union’, sparing no effort to support the Chinese people’s war. In the US he sang ‘March of the Volunteers’ in both English and Chinese, and when ‘New’ China was established (in 1949), he took to the streets with his friends singing ‘Stand Up’ in celebration. Then in 1958, when the Chinese people celebrated his 60th birthday, he wrote a letter stating ‘Thank you to all the Chinese people for their contribution to Socialism, security of peace’, hoping that he would be able to visit China. For various reasons, up until his death in January 1976, he was not able to realise this intention. However, during May 1980, his son, (Paul Robeson Jr and his wife), visited China, and was greeted in Soong Ching Ling’s former Beijing residence. The Chinese people will not forget Paul Robeson, or the songs he sung, and will continue to educate Chinese people about his life story. On the celebration of his 100th birthday, a commemorative concert was held in Zhongshan Park Music Hall.


Portrait of Song Ching Ling

This commemorative event was organized by the China Soong Ching Ling Foundation Research Centre, and sponsored by China International Friendship Association, Beijing Foreign Studies University, China Daily and Foreign Language Education and Research Press. Special thanks are due to He Dazhang (何大章) – Deputy Director of the China Soong Ching Ling Foundation Research Centre, Chen Xiuxia (陈秀霞) – Vice President of the China International Friendship Association, Gao Zhendong (高振东) Secretary-General, Professor Chen Lin (陈琳) – of the Beijing Foreign Studies University, Su Fei (苏菲) – Soong Ching Ling’s lifetime friend (possibly ‘Sophie’), Nakamura Kyoko (中村京子), Li Mei (李湄), Han Chun (寒春), Yi Sha Bai (伊莎白) – international friend (possibly ‘Isabel’), Ke Makai (伊莎白), as well as many other Chinese and international friends.Paul Robeson’s son, (Paul Robeson Jr), although he was unable to personally attend, sent a congratulatory letter from New York as a memorial, stating:

‘For your April 9th Paul Robeson 110th anniversary celebration. My father is one of the greatest performing artists of the 20th century. He was not only a symbol of Black-Americans involved in the international peace movement, but was also a strong fighter in the struggle for Black freedom in the United States. As a reliable and intimate friend in the great anti-imperialist struggle of the Chinese people, he bravely resisted fascism and colonialism, and it is very appropriate for the Chinese people to commemorate the 110th anniversary of my father’s birthday.’


After this letter was read to the audience, the documentary entitled ‘Paul Robeson – Tribute to an Artist’ was shown, after which many people in the audience (named above) gave their personal recollections of Paul Robeson, his character, artistic mastery and inspiring political activity. Wang Xuexin (王学新) gave an interesting presentation involving Paul Robeson’s interaction with, and influence upon Chinese artists.


He Dazhang (who together with American guests was in-charge of the ‘memorial’ for this event) stated: ‘Although Paul Robeson and Soong Ching Ling never met in person, their activities on the international stage were very similar, as both worked tirelessly for world peace, and both shared a strong responsibility to strive to bring the peoples of the US and China closer together in friendship and understanding. This aspiration expresses the highest attributes of human thinking. Today, the international communities gathers in Beijing to commemorate the great personality of Paul Robeson, but for Chinese people, we want to state to the world that we as a nation, will never forget Paul Robeson, or the fact that he supported our struggle against fascism. We owe it to his memory to never let fascism arise in the world again, and continuously work for peace and harmony throughout society and the international community. This is something we must all fight for in the world!’


Also participating at this event was the male voice choir of the China Association for Science and Technology, the famous saxophonist Fan Shengqi (范圣琦), singer Li Guangxi (李光曦), Central Music Academy Bassist – Wu Tianqiu (吴天球), as well as nationally acclaimed Chinese actor – Du Shengxian (杜声显) – who took part in the singing. Many gave renditions of Paul Robeson’s songs, whilst others performed saxophone solos (and similar artistic expressions). Finally, the tribute ended with everyone holding hands and singing together Paul Robeson’s classic (Socialist) track ‘Joe Jill’.


中国网 时间: 2008-04-09 发表评论>>


保罗•罗伯逊(Paul Robeson,1898—1976)是著名美国黑人歌唱家、民权运动领袖、国际和平运动战士,中国人民的朋友。抗日战争时期,他应宋庆龄之邀,担任“保卫中国同盟”名誉会员,积极参加“保盟”的募捐义演,不遗余力地支持中国人民的抗战。他在美国用中英文演唱《义勇军进行曲》,还用中文灌制了以《起来》为名的唱片,使得这首象征中国民族精神的歌曲开始具有世界影响。新中国成立时,他同朋友一起走上街头用中文唱《起来》以示庆贺。1958年,中国人民为他庆祝60岁生日,他给中国人民写信“感谢全体中国人民对社会主义的贡献和对和平的保卫”,并希望访问中国。由于种种原因,直到1976年1月去世,罗伯逊也没有实现他的愿望。1980年5月,他的儿子小保罗•罗伯逊夫妇访华,宋庆龄在北京故居予以亲切接见。中国人民不会忘记保罗•罗伯逊,他的歌曲被传唱,他的故事在流传,在他诞辰100周年之际,中山公园音乐堂还举行了纪念音乐会。




大家首先观看了纪录片《保罗·罗伯逊——献给一位艺术家(Paul Robeson:Tribute to an Artist)》,再次感受到罗伯逊的艺术魅力和斗争精神。中国宋庆龄基金会研究中心常务副主任何大章、中国国际友人研究会陈秀霞副会长、北京外国语大学教授陈琳先后致辞,宋庆龄的好友苏菲、国际友人伊莎白等人也分别讲话,从不同的角度缅怀了保罗·罗伯逊。王学新导演还讲述了保罗·罗伯逊与中国艺术家交往的故事。





美国黑人歌唱家保罗.罗伯逊 (Paul Robeson 1898-1976)


Paul Robeson – Socialist Revolutionary

保罗.罗伯逊 (Paul Robeson,1898-1976),美国著名男低音歌唱家、演员、社会活动家。  1898 年4 月9 日,保罗? 罗伯逊出生于美国新泽西州普林斯顿的一个黑人牧师家庭。早年在穆维尔高级学校求学期间,就曾参加过莎士比亚戏剧的演出。1923年毕业于哥伦比亚大学法律系,此后一直从事戏剧演出和电影拍摄等活动。1925年在纽约哈伦剧院举行第一次黑人灵歌独唱会,大获成功。1927年,他在美国著名音乐剧《游览船》中演唱了《老人河》一曲,


他到过许多国家,却一直无缘踏上中国的土地。然而,他却是中国人民最忠实的朋友。 中国的抗日战争爆发后,他曾用汉语演唱《义勇军进行曲》 ,以示同情和支持。1941年,宋庆龄邀请保罗?罗伯逊、埃德加?斯诺、印度的尼赫鲁等,担任她所创建的“保卫中国同盟”的荣誉会员。罗伯逊积极参加了“保盟”在美国的募捐义演。

保罗?罗伯逊是国际和平运动的伟大战士。他反对所有非正义战争。1950年,保罗?罗伯逊以他的《和平之歌》荣获国际和平奖金。又因他在保卫世界和平上的卓越贡献,荣获1952年度斯大林国际和平奖金。1976 年1 月23 日,保罗?罗伯逊因脑溢血逝世于费城,享年78 岁。

Paul Robeson (Поль Робсон): A Full Human-Being in the USSR!


“In (Soviet) Russia, I felt for the first time like a full human being – no colour prejudice like in Mississippi – no colour prejudice like in Washington. It was the first time I felt like a human being!” – Paul Robeson

Paul Robeson at Russian Embassy Party
















Long May Our Crimson Flag Inspire…!

Paul Robeson: The First to Die in the Fight Against Fascism Have Been the Communists

Testimony of Paul Robeson before the House Committee on Un-American Activities, June 12, 1956

‘Mr. ROBESON: In Russia I felt for the first time like a full human being. No color prejudice like in Mississippi, no color prejudice like in Washington. It was the first time I felt like a human being. Where I did not feel the pressure of color as I feel [it] in this Committee today.’

Paul Robeson’s Solidarity with China: Stand Up! The People Will Nolonger Be Slaves!



Original Chinese Language Article By:

(Translated by Adrian Chan-Wyles PhD)

Translator’s Note:  Paul Robeson is one of the greatest intellectuals the US has ever produced, despite its Eurocentric racism and pathological dislike of Blackness, Socialism and Communism. Paul Robeson was popular amongst US workers (of all ethnicities), and was a true ‘Internationalist’.  He stood-up to White US tyranny – and when he met with US President Truman, he demanded that anti-lynching laws be passed, as a means to stop rabid and hate-filled White people from murdering Black people through illegal torture and execution (which included hanging from trees, lamp posts and buildings).  Truman immediately halted the interview and had Robeson removed – refusing to help in anyway.  Although the US embarked on a Cold War strategy of fabrication and lies about the USSR, Paul Robeson would not change his view that Soviet Communism was better than US capitalism.  Finally, even today, Paul Robeson is treated with respect within Communist China, and this short article links him to the Chinese National Anthem.  ACW  5.8.2016

During the 1940’s, the greatly renowned African-American singer Paul Robeson, performed ‘March of the Volunteer’ all over the USA, which includes the powerful and poignant line:

‘Stand Up!  The People Will Nolonger Be Slaves!’

This song was written over 80 years ago, and since that time, its inspiring and revolutionary lyrics and majestic melody, have resonated across the length and breadth of China and the world.  Recently, the track entitled ‘Song of the Country – March of the Volunteers – National Anthem’ has been re-recorded and re-released in China.  As a distinct piece of inspirational music, it was originally written in the 1934 as part of Communist China’s anti-Japanese War effort.  This was a terrible time when the Chinese nation faced extermination at the hands of a brutal enemy – it was a matter of life and death for the Chinese people.  The anthem ‘March of the Volunteers’, was originally featured in the film entitled ‘Wind and clouds – Sons and Daughters’, with its lyrics written by Tian Han (田汉), and a musical accompaniment arranged by the composer Nie Er (聂耳).  This film was made in Shanghai – so it is from Shanghai that China’s National Anthem is known to have originated.


Before the establishment of New China, the ‘March of the Volunteers’ inspired the Chinese masses to rise-up against the forces of imperialism that were ripping the country apart, and destroying the Chinese people.  Together with the revolutionary bugle call, this anthem called for all the Chinese people to fight together to earn their independence and freedom from tyranny!  After the successful Chinese Communist Revolution in 1949, ‘March of the Volunteers’ became the National Anthem of China, and not only united the various ethnic groups to build Socialism within China, but its anti-imperialist ethos spread across the world to inspire all oppressed peoples to fight back against imperialist tyranny!  The anthem encourages all peoples to forge an indomitable spirit, and never give-up, no matter how powerful are the imperialist forces arrayed before the masses.  This revolutionary attitude has enabled New China to forge ahead in the world, and breath a new vigour into Chinese culture.


©opyright: Adrian Chan-Wyles (ShiDaDao) 2016.

Original Chinese Language Source Text:









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