Roots & Branches of the 20th Century Black Arts Movement: Paul, Ossie & Alvin

Maya Bradley

Sat, Nov 19, 2022
1PM – 2PM
Arts Council of Princeton – Taplin Gallery


Paul Robeson was perhaps one of the most influential artists and social critics of the 20th century. His impact on the Black Arts Movement reaches across the globe and throughout time. The analytical framework used in the racial literacy and justice class at Princeton High School will be used to provide perspective on the life and legacy of Princeton’s Native Son.

The translation and transformation of [his] voice and likeness into the colorful visualization of dance has a resonant quality and characteristic that can only be described as an antiracist aesthetic.This presentation will elucidate how the iconic voice and presence of Paul Robeson influenced the artistry and storytelling of Ossie Davis and Alvin Ailey. Local artist Maya Bradley will perform interpretive dance alongside the lecture presentation of Dr. Joy Barnes-Johnson, Program Chair of the Paul Robeson House of Princeton and Princeton Public Schools Educator.

This event is held in collaboration with the Arts Council of Princeton.

Exhibit: Telling A People's Story: African American Children's Illustrated Literature

Telling A People's Story poster

October 1-30, 2022
Princeton Public Library
First and Third Floor

“Telling a People’s Story” is the first traveling exhibit devoted to the art found within the pages of African American children’s illustrated literature. The exhibition emphasizes the strength of the illustrations as visual narrative representations of the African-American experience and sheds light on the long-neglected world of African-American authors and illustrators in the pantheon of children’s literature.

This event is co-sponsored by The Paul Robeson House of Princeton.

Reading: "What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?"

Frederick Douglass

Tuesday, July 5, 2022
7:30 PM – 8:30 PM

Community members read an amended version of Frederick Douglass’ influential speech, given on July 5, 1852, in Rochester, New York, to the Rochester Ladies Anti-Slavery Society.

Robeson Week of Remembrance 2022 - Celebrating Paul Robeson's 124th Birthday

Robeson Week of Remembrance 2022 poster

Monday, April 4th
Relaunch of Paul Robeson 123 Legacy Video

Wednesday, April 6th
Premier video for Robeson Scholars on YouTube

Friday, April 8th – Noon
Robeson Pew Dedication at Princeton High School
For more information, contact Olive Giles, PRESSA

Saturday, April 9th – 10:00 AM
Robeson Scholars Recognition Program at The Arts Council of Princeton

Discussion: Black Activism, Then and Now

Attorney Meena Jagannath, Rev. Lukata Mjumbe, and scholar Shana L. Redmond discuss Black activism, past and present, in a conversation moderated by Derecka Purnell, a lawyer, writer and organizer.

Black Activism Then and Now poster

Tuesday, February 15, 2022 – 7:00 PM ET
Princeton Public Library (Zoom)

In honor of Black History Month, join us for a virtual discussion centered around the theme of Black activism in historical and contemporary perspective. How have previous generations of Black activists shaped activism today? What connections can we draw between Black activism at the local, national, and international level? Using famed Princeton resident Paul Robeson as one of several anchors to explore these questions and others, the conversation will consider past, present, and future trends of protest, resistance, and organization in the fight against racism. The program will feature Meena Jagannath, Rev. Lukata Mjumbe, and Shana L. Redmond in conversation with moderator Derecka Purnell. An audience Q&A will follow the speakers’ conversation.

Conversation: Sharon Rudahl and Taylor-Faith McKie

Cradling a Tiny Flame

Wednesday, November 3, 2021 – 6:00 – 7:30 PM
Princeton Public Library (Zoom)


Comic artist, illustrator and writer Sharon Rudahl discusses the legacy of Paul Robeson, social movement, radicality and the need for an imagination with PHS senior Taylor-Faith McKie.

Rudahl will discuss her life’s work with Princeton High School senior Taylor-Faith McKie. They will explore topics including the aesthetics of racial progress today. Also discussed will be “Two Marches,” Rudahl’s short film about the 1963 March on Washington and the 2017 Women’s March, both of which she attended, and the artistry of her graphic novel “Ballad of an American: A Graphic Biography of Paul Robeson,” one of her recent works published by Rutgers University Press.

McKie is passionate about human and children’s rights advocacy. As president of the PHS Black Student Union and LOCC (Leaders of Color for Change), she aims to create an increasingly tolerant environment within the Princeton community.

For me, it is not the house, but what it represents. The Robeson House, like the Witherspoon Jackson neighborhood it anchors, is rooted in history but not locked in the past. The house stands proud and represents a future in which social justice issues are debated, programs developed, and community resources rallied to breathe life into the philosophy and legacy of Paul Robeson, a brave American patriot who used his many talents to fight for the rights and respect of all people worldwide.