Actor/singer Paul Robeson was raised in Methodist parsonages by his widowed father, AME Zion pastor Rev. William Drew Robeson. The younger Robeson often preached in his father's absence. sang in the church choir, and learned Latin and Greek from his father. His older brother Benjamin was a long-time pastor of the first AME Zion church, Mother Africa, founded in 1796 in Harlem.
Paul Robeson, a Rutgers graduate, put himself through law school by playing professional football but soon left his law practice for a stage career. He was one of the most successful American actors of the 1930 and 1940s, best known for his roles in the movie Showboat and in the play Othello which still holds the Broadway record for most performances by a Shakespearean play. His career was cut short by repeated investigations during the McCarthy era of his suspected Communist ties and his criticism of the United States in its treatment of African Americans.
Watch Robeson's performance of Ol' Man River from Showboathttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yyJtGNk9iEU and read this excellent biographyhttp://www.bayarearobeson.org/RobesonInDepth.htm