Black History Month
Free Stream | Feb. 18-25, 2024
In celebration of Black History Month and in anticipation of our streaming and upcoming DVD release, we are offering a free one-week preview stream of the documentary PAUL ROBESON: “I’M A NEGRO. I’M AN AMERICAN.” (1989, dir. Kurt Tetzlaff).
A cinematic homage to the Black American singer, actor, civil rights activist Paul Robeson (1898–1976), who, at the peak of his singing career in the late 1940s, became a political activist and as a result endured years of persecution and isolation in his own country during the hysteria of 1950s McCarthyism. Throughout his life, he advocated at home and abroad for freedom of the Black community and all human beings. He had a significant impact on the 1960s US American civil rights movement and the subsequent social changes. Paul Robeson inspires us to use our voices and our social positions to speak up against racism and oppression and in doing so, to strive for a better and more just world.
“This film is a must-watch! It intimately portrays Paul Robeson and allows us to experience him through the eyes of the people who loved him, including the great Harry Belafonte.” —Kevina King, Howard University
“Kurt Tetzlaff's documentary simultaneously shows us twos side of Paul Robeson. On the one hand is the mythological Robeson; the outstanding artist and activist, whose leftist politics and solidarity with people around the globe so perfectly fit the GDR's ideal of crossracial alliance. On the other hand, there is Robeson the man, someone who felt betrayed by his country after he was banned from travel and performance due to his Communist sensibilities. Robeson spent his lifetime proving his worth, reciting Shakespeare, singing opera and fighting for the rights of the oppressed. But more often than not, even his white allies saw him only as a token - someone they wanted to perform a certain myth of Blackness they held dear. These expectations were arguably as restraining to Robeson as the bans on his travel and work. Tetzlaff's documentary honors Robeson, while also giving voice to his pain, in part by allowing those who knew him well express the hardships he didn't always share with the world. And thus, as a documentary about the complicated entanglement of politics, art and freedom, it offers a sorely needed perspective in our current political climate.” —Priscilla Layne (U of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
"Paul Robeson was indeed an unsurpassed legend in American music, and Tetzlaff's film reminds us he was a legend, too, for the global left. Thanks to extended musical sequences and exclusive interviews with other legends such as Pete Seeger and Harry Belafonte, Tetzlaff portrays Robeson as the key linchpin between the American civil rights movement and the communist publics of the Eastern bloc." —Evan Torner, U of Cincinnati
"From any perspective, the film stands as an elegant, revealing, and powerful portrait of a towering figure in American culture, society, and politics. Revisiting episodes in Robeson’s life, drawing attention to his performances and writings, and confronting the virulent racism and anti-communism he faced in the U.S., Paul Robeson: "I'm A Negro. I'm an American." documents the life of a groundbreaking artist whose courage, tenacity, and passion remain profoundly inspiring." —Anthology Film Archives, New York, 2023
"A tribute to an entertainment titan." —The New York Times, 2023