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The Daily Beast: Stars Who Perform for Dictators

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Paul Robeson and the U.S.S.R.

Paul Robeson was one of several black Americans, including some of his relatives, who emigrated to the U.S.S.R. and became radical political activists. After an illustrious football career, Robeson became one of the first concert singers to popularize the performance of Negro spirituals, and appeared in several plays as well. When he first visited the Soviet Union in 1934, he was amazed by its lack of segregation. "Here, I am not a Negro but a human being for the first time in my life ... I walk in full human dignity," he said. As he became a more vocal advocate for communism, the State Department confiscated his passport and forced him to appear before Sen. Joe McCarthy's House Un-American Activities Committee. Robeson wrote glowing tributes to Joseph Stalin and died without regretting his faith in Soviet leaders.

(AP Photo/Bill Achatz)
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