Paul Robeson House,
1221 Enfield Street
Paul Robeson was an All-American football player, a Phi Beta Kappa scholarship student at Rutgers University, and a graduate of the Columbia University Law School. An African American of extraordinary artistic gifts, he later became an internationally known actor and singer, and he was an activist in civil rights causes. Robeson purchased this house during the height of his popularity and used it to entertain his guests. His family owned it from March 1940 until December 1953.
Robeson’s refusal to remain silent about racism in the United States, along with his ardent desire for full human justice, resulted in his being ostracized by American society. He was barred from appearing at concert halls, had his passport revoked, and saw his name removed from the football records he had established. He spent the last 15 years of his life in exile abroad or as a recluse in Philadelphia, dying in January 1976. In 1995 Robeson was posthumously inducted into the National Football Foundation’s College Football Hall of Fame. The house is privately owned and not open to the public. It is included in the Enfield National Register Historic District.
The above two paragraphs are from the official Freedom Trail website. Man, they sure do gloss over some of the more important aspects of Robeson’s life! The guy was hugely active in progressive causes and went through a lot of crap for it. Robeson’s life was rather incredible.
In short (very short), he went through various electroshock therapies at the hands of the CIA, was investigated by MI5 and the KGB, incited riots, starred in movies, had his passport revoked, had his football records expunged, went before McCarthy, on and on and on.
His life story reads like pure fiction, written by a paranoid schizophrenic. And yet, it was all too real for Mr. Robeson and his family.
And hey, his house in Enfield was really nice… Even if it was in Enfield, of all places.
(I would delete this last dumb quip, but Bill Hosley’s comment below is too good and I will therefore keep it.)