You’re invited to a free Paul Robeson 125th birthday celebration in L.A.
Paul Robeson in 1925 | AP

LOS ANGELES — The Robey Theatre Company is inspired by Paul Robeson, the Black social activist, humanitarian, actor, singer and athlete, born in 1898. On Sun., April 9, from 1:00 to 7:00 p.m., The Robey will celebrate the man, his accomplishments, and his legacy on the occasion—to the day!—of Paul Robeson’s 125th birthday.

This birthday is being celebrated internationally by member organizations of the Paul Robeson Alliance, of which The Robey is a part. The honorary chairs of the Robeson birthday celebration are Harry Belafonte and Danny Glover.

The Robey’s birthday festivities for Paul Robeson will take place at the Los Angeles Theatre Center, 514 S. Spring St., Los Angeles 90013.

The afternoon will kick off with welcoming remarks by Robey co-founder Danny Glover.

Ben Guillory, the Producing Artistic Director of The Robey Theatre Company and Robey co-founder, will perform a dramatic monologue as Paul Robeson.

There will be a conversation with Danny Glover and Ben Guillory on Robeson’s legacy.

Two films will be presented:

The Tallest Tree in Our Forest, a documentary biography, written and directed by Gil Noble, produced by Noble and Samuel Murray. From Phoenix Learning Group. (Black-and-white, 1977, USA, 86 minutes, not rated.) Featuring Paul Robeson, Harry Belafonte, Dizzy Gillespie, Paul Robeson Jr., Douglas Turner Ward, Lloyd Brown. Detailed biography of famed singer, actor, athlete and activist Paul Robeson. Complete with several interviews and footage of concerts and film clips.

The Proud Valley, drama/music, directed by Pen Tennyson, written by Pen Tennyson, Jack Jones, Louis Golding, based on a story by Herbert Marshall and Alfredda Brilliant, produced by Michael Balcon. From Supreme Distributing Company. (Black-and-white, 1940, U.K., 76 minutes, not rated.) Starring Paul Robeson, Edward Chapman, Edward Rigby, Simon Lack, Rachel Thomas, Dilys Thomas. In a Welsh coal mining valley, a young man with a beautiful singing voice is called upon to make the ultimate sacrifice when a pit disaster threatens.

The afternoon party will also feature musical recordings, as well as performances of original scenes depicting episodes in the life of Paul Robeson. These scenes are written by members of The Robey Playwrights Lab and will be performed by the actors of The Robey Theatre Company.

Light refreshments (birthday cake, charcuterie) will be served.

Attendees are free to come and go during the six hours of events—it is not necessary to attend the entire six hours.

Seats can be reserved by emailing

While the celebration is nominally free, The Robey Theatre Company is a non-profit organization, and there are expenses to be covered, so a voluntary donation of $10 is suggested.

For more information about The Robey Theatre Company, go here. For more information about the Paul Robeson Alliance, go here. That’s the site to check out for further Robeson events in other cities.


Special to People’s World
Special to People’s World

People’s World is a voice for progressive change and socialism in the United States. It provides news and analysis of, by, and for the labor and democratic movements to our readers across the country and around the world. People’s World traces its lineage to the Daily Worker newspaper, founded by communists, socialists, union members, and other activists in Chicago in 1924.