Pearson Erases Paul Robeson from History: Students Write 100 Letters to Challenge Omission

Pearson Erases Paul Robeson from History: Students Write 100 Letters to Challenge Omission


“We have been learning about Paul Robeson. There is nothing about him in our textbooks! He should be in there because he was an African-American who stood up for equal rights and I want to have me and other kids learn about him more in our music classes. If my music teacher didn’t have any books or videos about Paul Robeson, we wouldn’t have learned anything! Please put him in the textbooks you publish.” — Keshav M-H., 3rd grade


“I believe we should have Paul Robeson in our music textbooks. We have learned a lot about Paul Robeson, like he got his passport taken. He sang the song “Old Man River,” and he changed the lyrics so they could say how he dislikes the segregation in our country. We are pleading for you to put him in our textbooks, do it for us, other teachers, other students, and people around the world. If I didn’t have [our music teacher] I would not know a thing about Paul Robeson.” — Masai J., 3rd grade


Author: Angela Grant

Angela Grant is a medical doctor. For 22 years, she practiced emergency medicine and internal medicine. She studied for one year at Harvard T. H Chan School Of Public Health. She writes about culture, race, and health.

7 thoughts on “Pearson Erases Paul Robeson from History: Students Write 100 Letters to Challenge Omission

  1. I didn’t even know they censored Paul Robeson in the textbooks, but I shouldn’t be surprised given the few things I know about him. It’s ironic how someone who fought for equal rights like Robeson would be erased, but those same history books extol mass murderers like Christopher Columbus. Think about that.

    1. Yup. Had it not been for the internet we would still think Christopher Columbus was a great man who discovered America. That is a lie that America has yet to correct. He was a despicable man who does not deserve to be honored and he didn’t discover America!

      Great black leaders whose fight benefited poor whites and white women more than it did Black people are ignored in the history books.

      Look at how the history of Hebrews and Israelites was replaced. Many bibles don’t mention them instead their history was appropriated to another group. Think about it.

      1. Good point about Christopher Columbus. I know Washington State changed Columbus Day to Native American Day, but more needs to be done on a nationwide level. Maybe we should make holidays for people who did much better like Paul Robeson having his own day, Nat Turner, or John Henrik Clarke (funny enough, his birthday is on New Year’s Day).

        Yup. Can’t argue with that.

        Very interesting point that you bring up. The scriptures have been doctored. Did you hear about The Slave Bible? The slave masters took out 90% of the Old Testament and half of the New Testament and I was shocked that NBC of all sources talked about it. Most of the scriptures that were taken out were the covenants (besides the 10 Commandments), scriptures about equality, and especially scriptures dealing with fighting injustice. It makes Birth of a Nation (2016) even harsher in hindsight with Nat Turner reading and quoting “forbidden scripture”. Look at Deuteronomy 28. It is hard reading that scripture and not thinking that it refers to the African diaspora. Who else came in slave ships besides Black people? Exactly.

        1. I didn’t know for sure that slave owners omitted parts of the Bible but it would have been out of character to think they didn’t.

          The more I learn about slavery the more I distrust the culture responsible for it. Sadly slavery never ended it was repackaged. Here we are today, the slave catchers wear uniforms. They murder us in plain sight and the criminal system responsible for justice say it’s justified. How can any Black person trust America and it’s systems to be fair?

          1. I had a feeling, but once I saw some articles about the Slave Bible, I was proven right. There are even hidden Biblical books that the Vatican hasn’t released in the public for centuries to the best of my knowledge.

            I don’t blame you, Angela. The history books really downplay it so much including some recent editions made in the South that dared to call slaves immigrants and indentured servants or were well-fed. Then again, the modern American police system is based on the slave catchers which you’re absolutely right about that. Sure, slavery as a private enterprise is illegal, but not as a public institution like that giant loophole in the 13th amendment.

            1. Exactly. They wanted the slaves docile and unquestioning. If the rest of the scriptures were there, then they would’ve had rebellions across the board and the slaves could’ve made connections to their heritage whether directly or indirectly.

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