Hollywood on Trial

New York: Boni and Gaer, 1948. First edition. INSCRIBED by actor Paul Robeson in the year of publication on the front endpaper: "All best wishes / and thanks / Paul Robeson / April 28, 1948."

Many African-American witnesses subpoenaed to testify at the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC) hearings in the 1950s were asked to denounce Paul Robeson (1888–1976) in order to retain future employment. Robeson, an All-American football player and recipient of a Phi Beta Kappa key at Rutgers, received a law degree at Columbia. He became an internationally acclaimed concert performer and actor as well as a persuasive political speaker.

In 1949, Robeson was the subject of controversy after newspapers reports of public statements that African Americans would not fight in “an imperialist war.” In 1950, his passport was revoked. Several years later, Robeson refused to sign an affidavit stating that he was not a Communist and initiated an unsuccessful lawsuit. In the following testimony to a HUAC hearing, ostensibly convened to gain information regarding his passport suit, Robeson refused to answer questions concerning his political activities and lectured bigoted Committee member Gordon H. Scherer and chairman Francis E.Walter on African-American history and civil rights, leading to the now historic statement: "You are the Un-Americans, and you ought to be ashamed of yourselves."

Nearly ten years later, in 1958, the Supreme Court ruled that a citizen’s right to travel could not be taken away without due process and Robeson’ passport was returned.

Near Fine in a bright, Very Good plus dust jacket.

Bentley, p. 770.


[Book #134704]

Price: $4,500.00