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Ceremony to honor Robeson, Jan. 20

Princeton University will host a U.S. Postal Service ceremony on Tuesday, Jan. 20, honoring Princeton native Paul Robeson, whose image will appear on a commemorative postage stamp in the Black Heritage series.

President Shirley M. Tilghman, Provost Amy Gutmann and student choral groups will join Postal Service officials in the ceremony at 10 a.m in Richardson Auditorium, Alexander Hall. Also participating in the ceremony will be actor Avery Brooks.

"The U.S. Postal Service commemoration of Paul Robeson in the Black Heritage postage stamp series is a fitting tribute to a man who symbolized excellence," Tilghman said. "Princeton University is honored to host this celebration of a distinguished resident of the Princeton community whose legacy as an artist, activist and intellectual continues to be recognized worldwide."

Born in Princeton in 1898, Robeson achieved worldwide fame as an actor, singer, activist and athlete. A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Rutgers University and Columbia Law School, he was also an All-American football player. By 1924, he had devoted himself to his career as a performer, playing hit lead roles in productions of two Eugene O'Neill plays: "All God's Chillun Got Wings" and "The Emperor Jones." He played numerous stage roles during his career, but he was best known for his interpretation of the title character in Shakespeare's "Othello."

Robeson also appeared in several American and British movies, including the "Emperor Jones," "Show Boat," "King Solomon's Mines," "Jericho" and his favorite, "The Proud Valley." He died in 1976.

Robeson is remembered not only for his prodigious talents as a performer but also for his tireless and uncompromising commitment to civil rights and social justice, the U.S. Postal Service said in a press release, noting that he was an outspoken participant in the labor and peace movements.

"The Paul Robeson stamp in the Black Heritage series will serve as a lasting tribute to the individual achievements and contributions of African Americans," said Murray Weatherall, vice president of diversity development for the Postal Service, who will dedicate the stamp. "The Postal Service is extremely proud of the Black Heritage series and extremely proud to add Robeson's name to the distinguished list that makes up this stamp series."

The Paul Robeson stamp will be the 27th stamp in the Black Heritage series, which began in 1978 with the issuance of the Harriet Tubman commemorative stamp.

Contact: Eric Quinones (609) 258-3601

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