Paul Robeson

No One Can Silence Me: The Life of the Legendary Artist and Activist (Adapted for Young Adults)

The inspiring life and legacy of vocal artist and civil rights icon Paul Robeson—one of the most important public figures in the twentieth century—adapted for young adults by the acclaimed Robeson biographer

“As an artist I come to sing, but as a citizen, I will always speak for peace, and no one can silence me in this.” —Paul Robeson

Paul Robeson was destined for greatness. The son of an ex-slave who upon his college graduation ranked first in his class, Robeson was proclaimed the future “leader of the colored race in America.” Although a graduate of Columbia Law School, he abandoned his law career (and the racism he encountered there) and began a hugely successful career as an internationally celebrated actor and singer. The predictions seemed to have been correct—Paul Robeson’s triumphs on the stage earned him esteem among white and Black Americans across the country, although his daring and principled activism eventually made him an outcast from the entertainment industry, and his radical views made many consider him a public enemy.

With the original biography lavishly praised in the Washington Post as “enthralling . . . a marvelous story marvelously told,” this will be a thrilling new addition to the young adult canon. Featuring contextualizing sidebars, explanations of key terms, and photographs from Paul Robeson’s life and times, Paul Robeson: No One Can Silence Me will introduce readers in middle and high school to the inspiring and complicated life of one of America’s most fascinating figures, whose story of artistry, heroism, conviction, and conflict is newly relevant today.


“Although Paul Robeson’s story is impressive (you’ll see!) and explains why his name seems to lift off the tongues of all who say it, what his life really serves as is perhaps the greatest reminder of the possibilities of a single person.”
—Jason Reynolds, from the foreword
“Paul Robeson is a true hero everyone should learn about and Martin Duberman has done us all a great service by bringing Robeson’s story to young adult readers. This book should be taught in schools nationwide.”
—Wayne Au, education professor, co-editor of Teaching for Black Lives and editor of Rethinking Schools magazine
“A history of a global luminary figure that serves as a reminder of the courageous freedom-fighting work in front of us.”
Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
Paul Robeson: No One Can Silence Me shines a light on one of the giants whom history tried to minimize, and references our current context throughout the book. Duberman makes it clear that Paul Robeson and his story are as relevant and important as ever.”
—Thomas Nikundiwe, director of the Education for Liberation Network
“Before Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat and Martin Luther King Jr. had a dream, Paul Robeson used his gifted baritone voice not only for concerts and theater around the world but to call out racial injustice in his home country. . . . Duberman balances Robeson’s tireless civil rights work with his marital troubles and later mental-health problems. Numerous photographs throughout help document Robeson’s robust life. A powerful tribute to this #BlackLivesMatter predecessor.”
Booklist (starred review)
“A comprehensive and useful addition for middle and high school collections.”
School Library Journal

News and Reviews

Kirkus Reviews

Read a Q&A interview with Martin Duberman in Kirkus Reviews about the new YA edition of his acclaimed biography of Paul Robeson.

The American Bar Association has awarded Nell Bernstein’s Burning Down the Hous

Hold Tight Gently honored by the American Library Association

Award-winning author Martin Duberman’s Hold Tight Gently: Michael Callen, Essex Hemphill, and th

Books by Martin Duberman

The Martin Duberman Reader
The Essential Historical, Biographical, and Autobiographical Writings

Martin Duberman

Andrea Dworkin
The Feminist as Revolutionary

Martin Duberman

Radical Acts
Collected Political Plays

Martin Duberman

Hold Tight Gently
Michael Callen, Essex Hemphill, and the Battlefield of AIDS

Martin Duberman

Goodreads Reviews