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Robeson Peace Arch Concerts

March 22, 2011
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Famed opera star sang for Mine-Mill union in 1950s

Album cover for I Came to Sing

Sixty years ago this May 18, an estimated 40,000 music lovers, trade unionists and left-wing politicos gathered at Peace Arch Park near on the United States-Canada border at Blaine, WA, to hear American singing star Paul Robeson.

Only a dim public memory, the four annual concerts from 1952 to 1955 are the stuff of legend in labour movement and left circles, perennially getting revived and celebrated as a moment when people fought back against the excesses of the Cold War and McCarthyism.

Now the Labour Heritage Centre of British Columbia has produced a 30-minute podcast that provides some background to the concerts, including the pivotal role played by the district section of Mine-Mill union, and offers a few of the songs and speeches that made the event memorable and powerful.

You can hear the podcast here Episode 1 _ Paul Robeson .

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One Response to Robeson Peace Arch Concerts

  1. Mike Dumler on March 25, 2011 at 9:42 pm

    The Labour Heritage centre should be commended for producing this podcast because as long as the story of Paul Robeson’s Peace Arch concerts continues to be retold, and his songs replayed, he will live on.

    I also think this podcast should be required listening for every union and social Activist, whether they need to recharge their batteries, or reaffirm their belief in the enduring power of their movements.

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