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UNDERCUTTING ROBESON

Having read “Here I Stand” by Paul Robeson and an in-depth feature on him in Ebony in the late 1950s, written by journalist Carl Rowan, I won’t be reading Martin Bauml Duberman’s account of him in “Paul Robeson, A Biography,” thanks to Ishmael Reed’s adequate--or inadequate--review of it (Book Review, Feb. 19). The latter apparently did no further research on Robeson and merely took what the former wrote as gospel.

Duberman and/or Reed made Robeson look rather mediocre instead of the multitalented intellectual giant he actually was. Reed mentioned Robeson’s “C average” in law school without mentioning the fact that he actually became a lawyer and was a Phi Beta Kappa as well as All-American athlete, screen and stage star, multilingual concert singer and human rights activist: He was indeed a renaissance man, his pro-communist sentiments, notwithstanding.

SHELBY SANKORE

PHILLIPS RANCH, CALIF.

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