“12 Years A Slave” Director To Make Film About Paul Robeson
Oscar-winning director Steve McQueen of “12 Years a Slave” fame will document the life of a man whose name is prominent in both civil rights and here on campus: Paul Robeson.
According to The Guardian, crafting a film about Robeson’s life is McQueen’s “dream project.” The 45-year old director said he discovered the civil rights crusader while reading a book when he was 14 years old.
“It was about this black guy who was in Wales and was singing with these miners,” said McQueen, according to The Guardian. “I was about 14 years old, and not knowing who Paul Robeson was, this black American in Wales, it seemed strange. So then, of course, I just found out that this man was an incredible human being.”
Born in 1898 and raised by a former runaway slave in Princeton, N.J., Robeson was an accomplished singer, actor, and football player (he got a law degree from Columbia while he was playing in the NFL). He achieved widespread fame by acting in plays during the Harlem Renaissance in the 1930s. In the 40s, he became heavily involved in the international civil rights movement, advocating world peace. He refused to act or play in front of segregated audiences, and his performances were finally broadcast on television starting in 1978.
Harry Belafonte will be a collaborator of the film. McQueen did not get into many other details about the movie, but said “miracles do happen” in regard to the upcoming work with Belafonte.