Paul Robeson and Wales

Collections - Posted 13-06-2023

Paul Robeson will always be closely associated to Wales. Even in modern times, there have been several books written about his ties, covering his meetings with Aneurin Bevan, his frequent appearances at Welsh festivals, to his political activities and support for the Welsh miners. Music has also been influenced, with Welsh rockers the Manic Street Preachers singing about his political exile from America in their song ‘Let Robeson Sing’ from their 2001 album ‘Know your Enemy’.



Robeson’s connection can be felt most deeply in the 1940s movie ‘The Proud Valley’, which saw Robeson’s character David Goliath visit Wales for employment. The villagers initial had misgivings, but David was soon welcomed into their community through song and his heroic endeavors.

To fully explore Robeson’s connections to Wales would require months of in-depth research, but even with a brief synopsis, the overall outcome will always be the same. To remember Paul Robeson.

Selected online sources:

Selected items from the National Library’s collection


Aneurin Bevan a Paul Robeson: sosialaeth, dosbarth a hunaniaeth = Aneurin Bevan and Paul Robeson: socialism, class and identity – ISBN: 9781904773535

Black is just a colour: responses to the life of Paul Robeson

Cymanfa Ganu Bevan, Robeson, Cymru 1958

Gadewch i Paul Robeson ganu!: dathlu bywyd Paul Robeson a thrafod ei berthynas â Chymru – ISBN: 1862250383

Here I stand – ISBN: 0304703516

No way but this: in search of Paul Robeson – ISBN: 9781911617204

Paul Robeson: essays on his life and legacy – ISBN: 0786411538

Paul Robeson speaks: writings, speeches, interviews, 1918-1974


20 songs & Transatlantic exchange concert

The best of Paul Robeson

Deep river: I’m goin’ to tell God all o’ my troubles

Emperor of song!

Ol’ man river: Show boat – vocal gems

Film & video:

Dilyn Ddoe. Paul Robeson


The proud valley


Paul Robeson / Echt Foto

Paul Robeson [A modern print of a publicity photo of Paul Robeson as Brutus Jones from the 1933 film ‘The Emperor Jones’. Mounted below it is Paul Robeson’s autograph]

Paul Robeson at the National Eisteddfod, Ebbw Vale, 1958

Robeson / HTV [Film following the son of legendary Paul Robeson on his visit to Wales]


Ian Evans

Shared Cataloguing Programme Manager

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A blog about the work and collections of the National Library of Wales.

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