Other NJ News

New Jersey Library Celebrates Legacy of Paul Robeson: All-American Athlete, Actor & Activist

Paul Robeson, third from left, pickets outside the White House in 1949 protesting discrimination at the Bureau of Engraving.
Susan Robeson, granddaughter of Paul Robeson, will reflect on her grandfather and lessons to be learned from his life. Credits: Courtesy SCLSNJ
Paul Robeson played football at Somerville High School before his All-American career at Rutgers University.
The United States Post Office paid tribute to Paul Robeson, issuing a first-class stamp in his honor in 2004.


SOMERVILLE, NJ - The life and times of actor and activist Paul Robeson, an All-American football player and scholar who attended Rutgers University and graduated from Somerville High School will be celebrated at the borough library, 35 West End Ave. on Saturday, April 8.

Guest speaker Susan Robeson, his granddaughter, will explore what it means to be a global citizen in today's world and how to stay true to Robeson's ideals of peace and freedom.

"Paul Robeson was one of the most well-known African-Americans of the 20th century,” said Jim Sommerville, adult services librarian at Somerset County Library System of New Jersey’s Somerville Library branch.

Sign Up for E-News

“He was a renaissance man, a social activist, scholar, intellectual, lawyer, All-American athlete, singer, linguist, humanist, and advocate for international peace.”

Robeson was born in Princeton on April 9, 1898. He and his family moved to Somerville when he was young, and it was there that he attended school, graduating from Somerville High School with honors in 1915.

His father, William Drew Robeson, was minister of the St. Thomas A.M.E. Zion Church.

Robeson went on to become an accomplished actor and athlete, as well as an international activist.

“He had been active in football, basketball, baseball, and track at Somerville High School,” said Sommerville. “and had been, as a football teammate described him, ‘THE football team.’ He excelled additionally on the debating team. He was an A student amid the 29 other students in his class.

"One of his teachers, Anna Miller, was so impressed by the acting talent he exhibited in school drama that she encouraged him to seek acting as a profession," Sommerville continued. "One of his acting roles at SHS was Othello, the first of many occasions when he would portray the Shakespearean antihero.”

The library will offer several programs for children and adults:

Paul Robeson Sports Stations (ages 4+ years old), 10 a.m. - noon. Inspired by Robeson's athletic ability, children are invited to participate in sports stations.

This event will be held outdoors on the lawn of Borough Hall. In the event of inclement weather, this event will be held inside the Library. Sneakers or closed toe shoes are recommended. No registration required. A Parental Waiver & Consent Form will need to be signed for children participating in this event.

Paul Robeson’s Vision of Peace and Freedom, and his Relevance Today, Noon  - 1 p.m. Susan Robeson will explore what it means to be a global citizen in today's world and how to stay true to Paul Robeson's ideals of peace and freedom.

She is an award-winning documentary filmmaker, broadcast journalist and author of the award-winning book, "The Whole World In His Hands: A Pictorial Biography of Paul Robeson," and a forthcoming children’s book, "Grandpa Stops A War."

She lives in New York City where she is Executive Director of the Paul Robeson Foundation and is producing her first dramatic feature film.

Paul Robeson, A Chautauqua, 2-3 p.m. Actor Marvin Jefferson brings the life of Paul Robeson alive through first-person historical characterization.

Registration is required to attend these programs unless otherwise indicated. To register, visit SCLSNJ.org or call 908-725-1336.

Throughout the day, clips of some of Robeson's foremost film and singing performances will be shown in the Taub Reading Room Meeting Room at SCLSNJ’s Somerville Library branch. Additionally, there will be a display in the Reading Room of SCLSNJ’s Somerville Library branch that will feature visual resources that highlight Robeson’s career.  

For more information, visit SCLSNJ.org or call 908-725-1336.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


Cedar Grove Police: No Charges Filed in Memorial Middle School Social Media Incident

March 20, 2018

CEDAR GROVE, NJ - Cedar Grove police announced that the investigation into a "concerning" comment made by a Memorial Middle School via social media in late February has concluded and no charges have been filed.

According to police, the comment, which was reportedly made on Instagram Live, could not be substantiated and there was no probable cause to file a charge.  Police ...

Bloomfield Commemorates Restoration of Historic Theodore Ward House at 41 Park Place

March 20, 2018

BLOOMFIELD, NJ - The Bloomfield Township Council presented a proclamation to Lou and Cynthia Mandarakas for their restoration of the Theodore Ward House at 41 Park Place. The Mandarakases purchased the 130-year-old home in 2008 and financed the cost of interior and exterior restorations.

Built in 1887 by Theodore Hastings Ward, an early president of the Bloomfield Saving Bank, the Victorian ...

Upcoming Events

Thu, March 22, 6:00 PM

Mountainside Medical Center, Glen Ridge

Power Up your Grocery Cart

Health & Wellness


Thu, March 22, 7:00 PM

Cedar Grove High School, Cedar Grove

Orange Invitational Volleyball Tournament ...

Education Food & Drink Giving Back Other Sports


Thu, March 22, 7:00 PM

Cedar Grove High School, Cedar Grove

Orange Invitational Volleyball Tournament ...

Education Food & Drink Giving Back Other Sports

Montclair Police Blotter: Vehicles Struck by Falling Trees, Attempted Burglary to Gates Ave. Residences and More

March 15, 2018

MONTCLAIR, NJ- The following blotter was issued by the Montclair Police Department on  March 13, 2018. 

03-07- 2018 (Orange Road) Attempted burglary to a residence. The suspect was not successful in gaining
access to the residence. The suspect vehicle was described as a white Dodge Ram pickup truck.
03-10- 2018 (North Fullerton Avenue) Theft of delivered packages ...

'Trying' explores age, youth and points of history in poignant production

‘Trying’ explores youth, age and points of history in poignant production

By Liz Keill

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ – The George Street Playhouse presents an engrossing, two-character play based on the real life of Francis Biddle, former Attorney General.

Biddle, a Harvard educated lawyer, served under Franklin Roosevelt and later Harry Truman during the Nuremberg Tribunal. His ...

Montclair’s AAngelsNJ Founder Selected by ECDC for 2018 Women of Excellence Award

March 21, 2018

Angelina Killane-Sims, Founder and CEO of AAngelsNJ, a Montclair based nonprofit, supporting and supplying much needed resources to underinsured, uninsured and individuals/families in our communities, in need of breast health education, breast cancer awareness and their every day needs during breast cancer treatments.  

The Essex County Democratic Committee first ...