"FREEDOM CAN BE OURS, HERE AND NOW": FIRST EDITION OF PAUL ROBESON'S FIRST BOOK, HERE I STAND, WONDERFULLY INSCRIBED BY HIM
ROBESON, Paul. Here I Stand. London: Dennis Dobson, (1958). Octavo, original burgundy paper boards, original dust jacket. $3100.
First edition of Robeson's powerful first book, inscribed on the half title by him in England with a warm and lengthy inscription, "All the best to you and many thanks for your kindness. Good to be here in your country, Paul Robeson Nov 1, 1959," in very scarce original dust jacket.
"One of the major performing artists of the 20th century, Robeson's achievements as a stage actor, movie star and singer are individually outstanding but collectively astounding. He was easily the most influential Black entertainer of his day… He protested the segregation of organized baseball, appeared frequently at union and labor meetings, delivered anti-racist lectures during concerts, joined the pan-Africanist Council on African Affairs, and quit Hollywood because 'the industry is not prepared to permit me to portray the life or express the living interests, hopes and aspirations of the struggling people from whom I come'… His legacy, as Sidney Poitier noted, was profound: 'Before him, no Black man or woman had been portrayed in American movies as anything but a racist stereotype'" (ANB). Targeted by the FBI, CIA and Department of State for decades, blacklisted with his passport revoked in the 1950s, Robeson died in 1976 after a long illness. At the news, Coretta Scott King "deplored 'America's inexcusable treatment' of a man who had had 'the courage to point out her injustices.'" At his funeral in Harlem, Robeson was eulogized as a leader who "tried to live 'with dignity' and… 'bore on his body marks of vengeance'" (Buhle, Encyclopedia of the American Left, 655, 549-50). First edition, first printing: copyright page with "First published in Great Britain in 1958"; no statement of edition or printings. Precedes the first American edition. Half title with small inked date in the corner, "8-11-59."
Book fine; lightest edge-wear, small abrasion to front panel affecting title of scarce very good dust jacket.