October 18: Paul Robeson Won the NAACP’s Spingarn Medal Today in 1944

0 Posted by - October 18, 2020 - On This Date

Photo credits: United in Music Incorporated/NAACP


On Oct. 18, 1944, actor and civil rights activist Paul Robeson (pictured left) was awarded the Spingarn Medal from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).

The organization granted Robeson the award for his achievements in the arts. He was also a promising athlete during his time and was known all over the globe.

Robeson was born in Princeton, New Jersey, on April 9, 1898. He went on to become one of the most prominent performers during the Harlem Renaissance, appearing in many productions including The Emperor Jones and All God’s Chillun Got Wings.

The son of an escaped slave, Robeson actively spoke out against racism. He also became deeply involved in the civil rights movement. His refusal to publicly rebuke his beliefs led him to be blacklisted from films in the 1940s and 1950s. However, he continued to earn, perform, and travel the world.

On Jan. 23, 1976, Robeson died at the age of 77 after suffering a stroke.

Reference: Middleton, B. (2012 October 18) This Day in Black History: Oct. 18, 1944. Retrieved from https://www.bet.com/news/national/2012/10/18/this-day-in-black-history-oct-18-1944.html

*BlackThen.com writer and historian Victor Trammell edited and contributed to this report.

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