Paul Robeson

Recent Articles

Telling the story of Paul Robeson

By Charles Hallman
Staff writer


A musical play on the legendary Paul Robeson will be at the Capri Theater this weekend June 20-22. Jason McKinney stars as Robeson, the multi-faceted actor and singer who spoke against injustice both in the U.S. and abroad, and Christopher Bagley plays Lawrence Brown, Robeson’s long-time collaborator in “A Play Based on the Life of Paul Robeson,” a two-man production that is scheduled to appear in several cities this year. Robeson, was born in 1898 in Princeton, New Jersey the youngest of five children, and later would attend Rutgers University at age 17 and won multiple letters in baseball, football, basketball and track. He graduated as class valedictorian, then went to Columbia Law School and worked in the early 1920s as a lawyer in New York. However, he left the law profession because of racism at the firm he worked and became a successful singer and actor on stage and screen. Continue Reading →

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Gopher senior leaves the team like she played: with a big smile




Her coach and this reporter both watched Leah Cotton’s growth over her four years at Minnesota from a happy-go-lucky freshman to a fully confident young woman in her senior year. “It’s fun to watch her grow as a person, and it’s been really rewarding to see where she’s come from,” noted Gopher Coach Pam Borton last week. It wasn’t always pretty watching Cotton, however — she had a penchant for making silly fouls. She sometimes got her foot stuck on her energy accelerator. Yet you never saw the 5-8 senior guard from Kansas City, Kansas back down from her challenges. Continue Reading →

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MPS revising Black history curriculum


Mahmoud El-Kati calls for a ‘radical’ change to educating youth

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer



Following two recent incidents that occurred at Minneapolis high schools — a Black doll hung by the neck from a string at Washburn High School and a cafeteria fight at South High School — Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS) Chief Communications Officer Stan Alleyne said, “There is a new level of intensity and urgency” around the importance of teaching Black history in the schools,

The two incidents are “about misunderstandings and about ignorance” of Black culture, said Mahmoud El-Kati, who has taught Black history classes at North High School for 18 years. “All children should learn the wisdom of Frederick Douglass, [W.E.B.] DuBois, Mary Church Terrill, Ida B. Wells and Mary McLeod Bethune, Martin [Luther King, Jr.] and Malcolm [X], and God knows how many [other] people we can call on who are very important in American democracy. These children haven’t heard their names, [as well as] too many adults.”

Superintendent Bernadeia Johnson was unavailable for comment, but Alleyne pointed out, “The superintendent has spoken numerous times on how important it was to take another look at what we are doing. We have to make sure that students are learning things that are important for them to learn.”

The current Minnesota K-12 Social Studies Standards has four key components: citizenship and government, geography, economics and history. Students in kindergarten through third grade are required “to master fundamental understandings” of social studies, then study North America geography (grade four), North American history (grade five), Minnesota studies (grade six), U.S. Studies 1800-present (grade seven) and global studies (grade eight). Continue Reading →

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‘The Wheatley’ reinvents itself as needs evolve

Director Milon talks about what holds communities together

By Robin James

Contributing Writer

The Phyllis Wheatley Community Center (PWCC), also affectionately known as “The Wheatley,” is widely known and respected as a source of strength and pride for children, youth, families and elders in North Minneapolis. The center’s namesake is a slave who won her freedom and emerged as the first African American to publish a book of poetry. In the past, PWCC was once a settlement house where famous Black artists and musicians found shelter after discrimination kept them from local hotel establishments. Marian Anderson, Langston Hughes, W.E.B. Du Bois, Ethel Waters, and Paul Robeson among others stayed at the settlement house from the time it first opened its doors back in 1924. In the present, it still serves as a gathering place, particularly for those interested in educational and social supportive services. Continue Reading →

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