Lessons from Peekskill Paul Robeson and Black Radical Internationalism w Charisse Burden-Stelly

https://youtu.be/BgtR9SOqkX4Dr. Charisse Burden-Stelly joined us for an early turn to #BlackAugust and a look at the ways in which the Black Radical Tradition can continue to inform movements today. See more of her work HERE!



  1. Without a demand for a plebisite vote a social claim holds not political or legal weight. Without the demand, no remedy, political, reparations or otherwise. Douglas.

  2. “Even as history marches on, the same battles are

    still being fought". [ From Spike Lee's film; 'Da 5 Bloods' ].

    On July 18, 2019, Trump rally crowd chants– ‘send her back’, ‘send her back’. Chant follows Trump’s racist tweets targeting

    U.S. Representative ilhan Omar and three other Democratic Congresswomen of color.

    63 years ago similar sentiments were echoed by Congressman Gordon H. Scherer towards Paul Robeson during the

    testimony in 1956, before the House Un – American Activities Committee. [ HUAC ]:

    Congressman Scherer: Why do you not stay in Russia?

    Robeson: Because my father was a slave, and my people

    died to build this country, and I am going to stay here and

    have a part of it just like you. And no fascist - minded

    people will drive me from it. Is that clear?

    Twelve years later, 1968, mostly on black radio stations, we heard this song:

    'Some people think we don't have the right

    To say it's my country

    Before they give in, they'd rather

    fuss and fight

    Than say it's my country

    I've paid three hundred years or


    Of slave driving, sweat, and welts

    on my back

    This is my country'....[ 'This is my Country', 1968; Curtis Mayfield and The Impressions ].

    “In 1949, hatred of Paul Robeson exploded in one of the ugliest riots of the country in Peekskill, New York, not long

    after he had declared, on behalf of the youth of Afro – Asia, that colored people did not want war with the Soviet Union.

    “It is unthinkable”, he said, “that American Negroes could go to war on behalf of those who have oppressed them for

    generations against the Soviet Union which in one generation has raised our people to full human dignity"

    [ New York Times, 21 April 1949 ]. His speech, made at the Paris Peace Conference, was a turning point in Robeson's

    life; its reception in the United States constituted a watershed in the history of the practice of liberty and free speech in

    this country". [ 'Going Through the Storm'; Sterling Stuckey, 1994,pg.234 ].

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