Skip to main content



Use the two documents found at the bottom of this page and Paul Robeson's biography, to answer the following questions to the best of your ability.

Document #1
To Sing at Benefit Concert. Daily Home News.  4 September 1947
"To Sing at Benefit Concert." Daily Home News. 4 September 1947. Rutgers Special Collections and University Archives.

Transcript: "Paul Robeson" Paul Robeson will sing in the Plainfield High School at 8:30 p.m. Thursday, September 15, at a benefit performance sponsored by Potter's Civic Improvement Club, Inc, to raise money for a community center. James D. Elder is the concert committee. Tickets will be sold in this city by Tobin's Drug Store and in Metuchen by Charles Jewell, 32 Pearl Street.

Document #2
Photograph published by Der Deutsche Friedensrat
"Ban on Robeson Recital Lifted." Daily Home News. 6 May 1947. Rutgers Special Collections and University Archives.

Questions for Discussion

  1. Recreate the change in events before, during, and after May 6, 1947 and September 18, 1947 regarding Paul Robeson's benefit concerts. Plug in what you think happened by looking at his biography and the clues in the documents to explain what happened between the two dates.
  2. Discuss the constitutional issues involved in lifting the ban on the recital.
  3. Do you believe that controversial people, such as Louis Farrakhan or the Grand Wizard of the KKK, should be able to perform in public places such as schools, parks, etc.? Why or why not? Explain your opinion thoroughly in the Electronic New Jersey Discussion Forum.
  4. Identify a current example of a controversial person/ activist who has been censored or prevented from performing or advertising their cause. Why do you believe they are met with such opposition?