Welcome to Hidden Memorials: a series that gives a brief introduction to the city's lesser known monuments, memorials and statues. Today, let's go north into Petworth and look at (Here I Stand) In the Spirit of Paul Robeson.
This week's hidden memorial truly is hidden as Petworth is not really a hotbed of public art. It's also an interesting work in that the man who inspired the statue, Paul Robeson, while known for his strong political beliefs, never actually lived in the District. The college football star, internationally renowned singer/actor, and son of a preacher man grew up in New Jersey, graduated from Rutgers and Columbia, and spent influential portions of his life in Harlem, London and Philadelphia. However, Robeson was as renowned for his outspoken opposition to the Spanish Civil War (and his vocal pro-Russian sentiments) as he was for his work in the theater. He was even blacklisted during the height of McCarthyism. Artist Allen Uzikee Nelson's work of steel and green glass was dedicated in 2001, exactly one hundred three years after Robeson's birth.
· (Here I Stand) In the Spirit of Paul Robeson [Wikipedia]
· Paul Robeson [Wikipedia]
· All Hidden Memorials [CDC]