On Oct. 14, 1916, sophomore Paul Robeson was excluded from the Rutgers Football team.
Robeson was one of their best players, but Washington and Lee University refused to play against a Black player. Instead of standing by their full team, Rutgers pulled Robeson from the game.
Robeson went on to be named a football All-American twice, class valedictorian, a lawyer, and one of best 20th century actors, singers, speakers, and advocates for justice.
When summoned by the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) on June 12, 1956, Robeson refused to say whether he was a member of the Communist party and he admonished the committee for running a witch hunt.
I am not being tried for whether I am a Communist. I am being tried for fighting for the rights of my people, who are still second-class citizens in this United States of America.
After the hearing, Robeson’s name was removed from the College Football All-American roster, resulting in the records showing a ten-man team in 1918. Rutgers removed his name from sports records until 1995 when Robeson was inducted posthumously into the Rutgers College Football Hall of Fame.
Note to readers: If anyone has more information about or a correction to this story, please contact the Zinn Education Project at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Students in grades one to five in a D.C. school wrote to Pearson Education to find out why Paul Robeson was being censored once again, this time from their music textbook.