Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

The Ebony And Jet Historical Archives

The Ebony And Jet Historical Archives
Antonio G. Pereira © 2018 Antonio G. Pereira

        YES! The Ebony and Jet Historical Archives. African American History in the making and as it happened, archived for over half a century. Covering every subject across every profession. https://www.amazon.com/North-Pole-Legacy-Black-Eskimo/dp/0870238426 Each precious issue in it's entirety, easily accessible, and highly informative. Well worth the years it took to create it, and put it in place; this is a wealth of knowledge for generations to follow and share. A place where you can always read and learn and do research. Enjoy this timeless gift from John H. Johnson.

The Ebony Archive


The Jet Archive


Monday, April 9, 2018

The Undiscovered Paul Robeson: An Artist's Journey, 1898-1939 & Quest For Freedom, 1939-1976

The Undiscovered Paul Robeson: An Artist's Journey, 1898-1939 & Quest For Freedom, 1939-1976
Antonio G. Pereira © 2018 Antonio G. Pereira

        The Undiscovered Paul Robeson: An Artist's Journey, 1898-1939 & The Undiscovered Paul Robeson: Quest For Freedom, 1939-1976 by Paul Robeson Jr., are a wonderful Two Volume biography; written lovingly by his son and Personal Aide, Paul Robeson Jr.
        In Volume One, An Artist's Journey, 1898-1939 https://www.amazon.com/Undiscovered-Robeson-Artists-Journey-1898-1939/dp/0471242659 , he charts his father's early life, growing up in early 20th Century America. And we see, in great detail, how Paul Robeson became the legendary and fearless fighter for Human Justice and Dignity, we know now; as well as the accomplished actor, singer, Orator and Star Athlete. We learn of Robeson's personal experiences of racism in America (some quite brutal) that made him determined to fight it all his life. He had incredible mental discipline and concentration, as well as being a powerful gymnast. This was why during his long life, he was able to endure and rise to the challenges (including many that were put in front of him, sometimes to try and block him permanently), for years at a time. The term 'All American', was tailor made for Paul Robeson.
        His personal observations, (reproduced by his son in this book on page 158, from his personal diary) after his second trip to London, England in October of 1929, about the differences in appreciation of theatre in America as opposed to England, are fascinating. Sammy Davis Jr. would make the same observations in his autobiography, 'Yes I Can', a couple of decades later in the 1960s. What had resulted from this 1929 trip to England, was Paul Robeson's first encounter with the people of Wales, that became a deep friendship that lasted for the rest of his life.

Remembrance of Proud Valley: City Arts Centre Cardiff, Wales


(In 1998, my mother and I visited The Paul Robeson Exhibition at The Park and Dare Theatre in Treorchy, Rhondda Wales. It was a very, very, wonderful, magical, and deeply moving experience. My mother actually saw Paul Robeson in his definitive and powerful performance of 'Othello' at The City Center Theater in New York in June of 1945. He co-starred in that production with Jose Ferrer (as Iago) and his wife Uta Hagen (as Desdamona). Decades later, in the late 1960s, a good friend of my mother's, the actress Ruth Attaway, introduced her to Uta Hagen, backstage at Lincoln Center, after a performance by the original Lincoln Center Repertory Theatre, (of which both Attaway and Hagen were members) of the original version of 'Les Miserables'. During the Summer of 1967, my mother took me to a wonderful street production of The Lincoln Center Repertory Theatre performing Shakespeare's, 'The Taming of The Shrew'. During that Summer, the Repertory Theatre staged these performances in surrounding neighborhoods. The weather was perfect and it was a wonderful night out!)

        It is fascinating to read Paul Robeson's reflections and thoughts globally, from the year 1935, referring to Nationalism and Materialism, pages 229-230. His forward thinking predictions are quite startling (and on point) to read, in this, the 21st Century.

        Here are two examples of films that Paul Robeson made. One, an art film (silent) made in Switzerland in 1929.



        The other, a comedy (and based on Harlem Renaissance writer Claude McKay's novel 'Banjo') was made in England in 1936.

Big Fella


        Paul Robeson's appearance and performance at the Royal Albert Hall in London, England on June 24th, 1937, at a Rally in Support of the Spanish Republican Government of Spain, and against the Fascist forces of Francisco Franco, which were being supported by Aldof Hitler and Benito Mussolini, was a defining moment; as described on pages 291-293. Robeson pulled no punches in his speech, as the storm clouds that would become World War II were already forming overhead. And it was at this performance, when he changed the lyrics of "Ol' Man River", to a fight song. For a very informative related article: https://observer1984.blogspot.com/2012/02/quaker-speaks-from-black-experience.html

        The same isolationist stance by those in the U. S. Congress during the Spanish Civil War, and by England and France, that enabled the Hitler/Franco/Mussolini Axis in the 1930s, is exactly what is generating from the Oval Office in this country today; in a world which was already functioning with Globalization. The result of isolationism back then, was World War II. Joseph Stalin of Russia, another isolationist, was not much different. Something Paul Robeson at the time, could not or would not see, as Stalin's murderous Purges began and caused the deaths of hundreds of thousands in Russia; which included the deaths of some of Robeson's Russian friends, as he would find out in the next decade of the 1940s. However, one should keep in mind what Robeson's London friend, the well known West Indian Historian and Author of the groundbreaking book, 'The Black Jacobins', C.L.R. James,   (Go to the Internet Archive https://www.archive.org  Type https://www.ouleft.org/wp-content/uploads/CLR_James_The_Black_Jacobins.pdf , into the Wayback Machine, Press Enter, then Choose Feb. 23rd, 2017 ), had said of his friend Paul's position at the time (late 1930s), even though they disagreed on this particular situation, "Times were different then. You were either pro- or anti-Communist. What else was he to do?" (To put into perspective exactly what C.L.R. James was getting at, for example, there were people in the United States at the time (including in the media - Newspapers and Radio), who were either pro- or anti-Fascist, in their view of what was taking place in Spain; during the Spanish Civil War.) Ultimately, Stalin lived to deeply regret his choices, as the Nazis invaded Russia on June 22nd, 1941, and began a prolonged siege. Britain and France by then, having already declared war on Germany on Sept. 1st, 1939; when Hitler invaded Poland.

        Volume Two, The Undiscovered Paul Robeson: Quest For Freedom, 1939-1976 https://www.amazon.com/Undiscovered-Paul-Robeson-Quest-Freedom/dp/0471409731 , begins with Paul returning home to the United States and spending the years of World War II performing in theatre, films, concerts, fine tuning what would be his definitive performance of 'Othello'; and doing exhaustive work in support of the U.S., after they enter World War II in 1941. We then begin to see, as from one end, the Russians turn the tide of their battle against the Nazis into victory, and push the Nazis back toward Germany from the East, while the United States, England and France (mainly being the French Underground), with a combined effort, defeat the Nazis, and push in from the West. What ultimately transpires is the splitting of Germany; with the Russians taking control of the East, and the U.S. and their Allies taking control of the West. This results in what would become The Cold War era between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R.
        We get a step by step very clear analysis of the sick schizophrenic nature of post World War II Patriotism in America. A place where President Harry Truman is finally forced to integrate the Armed Forces in 1948. A place where lynching is still allowed to go on, and no laws enforced to stop it. A place where Organized Crime is allowed to flourish, and F.B.I. Director J. Edgar Hoover does just the minimum required of his job description in that area. (This, as we would find out from British Investigative Journalist Anthony Summers' shocking biography, 'The Secret Life of J. Edgar Hoover' https://www.amazon.com/Official-Confidential-Secret-Edgar-Hoover/dp/0399138005 , had it's roots in Hoover's unsavory private life with Clyde Tolson, and photographic evidence thereof, possessed by the Cosa Nostra and the O.S.S. {precursor of the C.I.A.}, as well as Hoover's sordid involvement in private, with predatory deviant Roy Cohn; an associate of Joseph McCarthy. After Summer's well researched biography was published, we began to see and understand the true nature of J. Edgar Hoover's obsession with digging up dirt on other people's sexual proclivities; whether they be in the White House or the Civil Rights Movement.) And Paul Robeson becomes a prime target. Always outspoken, he was not letting the Government get away with a new 'battle against Communism', to sidestep not addressing the horrendous racial brutality Black Americans were experiencing all over the nation. (It is interesting to note that the powerful Right Wing Show Business Gossip Columnist Walter Winchell, who was recruited by F.B.I. Director J. Edgar Hoover to smear Paul Robeson as being a Communist, during the beginning of Red Baiting in the late 1940s, would ironically, decades later in the 1960s, when he was an old man, get his head busted open by a young New York City Cop, when Winchell went to observe the riots at Columbia University https://www.democracynow.org/2018/4/23/how_black_students_helped_lead_the  ; and was standing in the wrong place at the wrong time.)

        This book (like Volume One), contains a wealth of astounding photographs that illustrate what a towering, influential human being Paul Robeson was. Volume Two in particular, offers crystal clear historical evidence of why Paul Robeson matters, and why his life (as documented in these two volumes by his son Paul Robeson Jr.), is such an important part of 20th Century American History.

        Paul Robeson's in depth studies into World Languages, Music Theory, and International Musical Scales, are astounding to read today. He was far ahead of his time in his thinking. By keeping himself busy with studies like these, Robeson was able to wait out the endless stalling by the Red Baiting and Witch Hunting Government. The showdown came on June 12th, 1956, when he appeared before the so-called House Un-American Activities Committee in Washington D.C. The Q & A as recounted verbatim by his son Paul Jr. in the book, is printed on pages 249-254. During this session, Robeson showed 'The Committee' for the outright gang of hypocrites they were; and much to their dismay, they accomplished absolutely nothing. Robeson left the session vindicated.
        The stalling to prevent him from regaining his Passport, which would have (of course) resulted with Robeson once again being able to travel internationally and perform his craft (as well as 'speak his mind', which was at the bottom of all of this), continued. But meanwhile, because of his courageous appearance before the House Committee, offers for concert appearances slowly began to pick up (he had never stopped completely, even while his performances were being cancelled and he was being blackballed), and he traveled across the United States singing in Churches and Concert Halls; as offers coupled with outrage poured in from overseas, for Paul Robeson to return and sing and perform, and the question raised as to just 'what' the American Government thought they were doing in not returning his Passport.

        On June 16th 1958, after a ruling in the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the State Department stalling, Paul Robeson won back his Passport. He was now free to go overseas again. And from 1958 through 1960, he was very busy indeed. Returning to the U.K., he was welcomed back, and not only sang for his many fans (with a triumphant return to his beloved Wales), but during this time, also did a very successful re-staging of Othello in London. Traveling extensively again, he performed all over the European Continent, and also in Russia, Australia and New Zealand; singing in the many different languages he knew, and with his rich beautiful voice, singing everything from Negro Spirituals, to Classical, to Folk Songs from all over the world. Joseph Stalin had died years before, and Nikita Khrushchev was now heading a much different Russia.
        Meanwhile, the Right Wing element in the United States, were making plans of their own, of what to do about Paul Robeson; as everything else they had tried up until that point, had not worked out the way they thought it would.

        During his visit to Moscow in 1961, Robeson was apparently secretly dosed with a very potent form of L.S.D., at a party in his suite in the hotel in which he was staying, by what appears to be, (from his son's investigations for this book) an agent of the Central Intelligence Agency. (Using the Freedom of Information Act, Paul Jr. gives us a clear picture of the C.I.A.'s secret program named MKULTRA Subproject 111; that targeted people by using the hallucinatory drug L.S.D. John Stockwell (who was later interviewed at length by the late Gil Noble, for his program 'Like It Is'), the former head of the C.I.A.'s Task Force in Angola, told Paul Jr. in 1980, that his father Paul Robeson , was viewed as 'dangerous' by the Central Intelligence Agency.)

        What followed subsequently were a series of horrible Electro Shock Treatments with heavy anti-psychotic drugging at The Priory (a famous London Clinic). Paul Jr. tells a riveting story about the final decade of his father's life, during which Paul Robeson did slowly recover because of his strong mental and physical constitution, but advancing age and a weariness began to take their toll.

        Paul Robeson did make one last very notable Public Appearance, at the 1965 Salute to Paul Robeson Gala, in New York City at the Hotel Americana; attended by many people who loved and admired him, such as Ossie Davis, Pete Seeger, James Baldwin, Dizzy Gillespie, John Lewis (SNCC), Billy Taylor (Bandleader and Educator), Diana Sands, Roscoe Lee Browne and many, many more. At the end of the Salute, Paul Robeson took the stage himself and gave a 25 minute speech; the ending of which, brought the house down.

        The late Gil Noble who hosted 'Like It Is' here in New York, made a documentary about Paul Robeson a long time ago. It is called:

                                     THE TALLEST TREE IN OUR FORREST

PART 1 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uPRS-GX9n-A

PART 2 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fgCtDoFz7TA

You can also find the complete documentary in this wonderful box set - Black History: A Retrospective https://www.amazon.com/Black-History-Retrospective-Barack-Obama/dp/B002WBYDLC

        Paul Robeson was a true American Treasure, and the epitaph on his grave sums him up:

Paul Robeson (1898-1976) "The artist must elect to fight for freedom or slavery. I have made my choice. I had no alternative."

Monday, December 18, 2017

The Rolling Stone Coverwall

The Rolling Stone Coverwall
Antonio G. Pereira © 2017 Antonio G. Pereira

        My good friend, the late Tony Funches (Interview with Kristy O' Brien - http://www.doorscollectorsmagazine.com/magazine/Tony_Funches.html ), generously shared the RS Coverwall link with us on his Facebook Page a couple of years ago. Go to the Internet Archive: https://www.archive.org  Type https://www.rollingstone.com/coverwall into the Wayback Machine, then choose 2018. It is a goldmine for anyone who has an interest in researching historical information concerning our culture, over the last 50 years. A mind boggling wealth of accessible articles, in-depth interviews, and unforgettable photographs. Tony Funches, who was a pleasure to know, was working on his autobiography. In his memory, here is an instrumental by one of the musicians he knew, and whose music he listened to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xb1WntjHZso And by another musician, one of his favourite songs: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3DbTIKHYwog

Monday, October 9, 2017

Remembering You Know Who, On His Birthday

Remembering You Know Who, On His Birthday
Antonio G. Pereira © 2017 Antonio G. Pereira




Friday, September 29, 2017

Ain't It Interesting, The More Things Change, The More They Stay The Same.....

Ain't It Interesting, The More Things Change, The More They Stay The Same.....
Antonio G. Pereira © 2017 Antonio G. Pereira



Thursday, September 14, 2017

10th Anniversary

10th Anniversary
Antonio G. Pereira © 2017 Antonio G. Pereira

       Well Folks, Folkies, Folkish and Folklike,
It's been exactly 10 years tonight, since I first created this blog, went online and began publishing my articles, reviews, poems, the novelette etc.... Hope you've enjoyed stopping in to visit, and checking on what's new from time to time. At this point I'm not sure if I'll continue to do this, but if I do, you'll see something new posted; eventually. Regardless, I want to say Thank You in whatever country or continent you're sitting in. This has been very enjoyable, and a lot of fun for me.

All The Best,
Antonio G. Pereira