Joe Stead presents 'The Life and Times of Paul Robeson'

Joe Stead presents 
‘The Life and Times of Paul Robeson’

Joe is known to many in the South West as the lead performer with Kimbers Men but has another string to his bow as an expert on singer Paul Robeson, with whom he sang once at a private event.

Born the son of a slave Paul Robeson rose from ‘white man’s lackey’ to become a belligerent, forceful spokesman for black human rights.  He had a scholar’s ability to summon up wide ranging points of reference, a linguists ability to communicate in several languages.  

He had had an outstanding career as an athlete, a degree in law and a deepening commitment to improve the lot of coloured people around the world.

But by 1960 his career and his health had been broken, his name vilified, his honour – even his good sense – assailed, his image converted by a now hostile establishment from public hero to public enemy.

Branded a Soviet apologist, kept under close surveillance by the FBI, his right to travel abroad denied by the State Department and his opportunities to perform at home severely curtailed, Robeson became an outcast, nearly a non-person.

This extraordinary turnabout in what had been one of the great twentieth-century careers is a singularly American story emblematic of its times yet transcending them, encompassing not merely Cold War hysteria but racial symbolism and racial consciousness throughout the history of the United States.  

That a man so deeply loved all over the world could evoke in his own country such an outpouring of fear and anger is in itself a tragedy.  

The tragedy that was Paul Robeson’s life is brought to reality in this workshop/lecture by Joe Stead, in which you are invited to join in songs and listen to the resonant, changing voice of Robeson himself, learning about one of the most remarkable men in American musical and theatrical history. 

Joe will also be selling copies of his new book, 

‘Ramblings of an Old Codger’ The life story of a nearly famous
folk singer.

“A fantastic read... Joe Stead makes the people, the places and the music come alive. I couldn't put it down. Whether you are into folk music or not, you will love it.”