September 28, 2011
Ananda Mahidol was a slight and painfully shy boy. When he was nine years old in 1935, he became the eighth king of Siam and captured the hearts of his people. But his reign was painfully brief, ending in his bedroom with a single bullet fired into his head at close range. He was 20 years old. Within hours, Ananda’s 18-year-old brother, Bhumibol, ascended to the throne, where he sits today. He has ruled for 65 years, longer than any current head of state, and has amassed a fortune estimated at more than $30 billion, making him the wealthiest royal in the world. His spending on schools and hospitals, as well as on disaster relief efforts, have helped bolster his considerable popularity among his subjects. Ananda’s death, however, remains unsolved and largely unmentioned in Thailand today.
So what exactly happened in Thailand on that June morning in 1946? The answer is no clearer today than it was in the immediate aftermath of a death that shocked Thailand and resonated around the world. Ananda and his brother had been inseparable as children and, by all accounts, remained close as they grew up. One of their common interests was firearms; they were known to take target practice on the Grand Palace grounds in Bangkok. On the morning of June 9, 1946, Bhumibol said he entered his brother’s bedroom chamber in the palace at 9:00 a.m., found him sleeping and left. Twenty minutes later, a gunshot echoed across the palace complex. The king’s page, Chit Singhaseni, rushed into the room and, seeing no one but Ananda, shouted, “The king has shot himself!” The king’s mother, Sangwal, followed the servant into the room. Ananda was lying in his bed, face up, with a bullet hole in his forehead and a Colt .45 pistol beside him on the bed. Sangwal pushed aside the mosquito net and threw herself onto the body, crying, “Alas, ‘Nanda, my son!”
The initial press reports out of Bangkok said Ananda’s death was accidental. “Diffident, bespectacled and boyish,” the New York Times reported, the king was “a fancier of firearms” and always kept a weapon near. Ananda had been within days of a trip to the United States for visits to New York and Washington, D.C., before returning to Switzerland, where he had received most of his education, to finish his studies for a law degree. The Times made a point of describing the worldly young king as “more Western than Eastern in his tastes,” as he “enjoyed playing a saxophone and driving an American jeep about the Palace grounds.” In the days after his death, however, newspapers around the world raised the possibility that King Ananda had taken his own life. His relationship with a 21-year-old Swiss woman in Lausanne had broken off while he had returned to Thailand, and there were rumors that the king had been despondent. He was weakened by intestinal troubles, some reports said. He was a reluctant ruler and he’d been quarreling with his mother, noted others. But the Thai government quickly brushed aside any insinuation of suicide. It was simply inconceivable to the Buddhist people of Thailand that their enlightened king could kill himself. Besides, the government noted, the gun was discovered next to Ananda’s less dominant left hand, and the nearly blind king was not wearing his glasses when he died.
By the end of the week, Thai officials—recognizing the need to solve the mystery of Ananda’s death quickly—ordered a special commission of inquiry to investigate. The government, already riven by power struggles in the aftermath of World War II, was close to turmoil. “Any mention of the king in public,” the Chicago Daily Herald reported from Bangkok, “has brought serious reprimands from the secret police.” (Under Thailand’s constitution and lèse majesté laws, criticism of the monarchy is banned.) The commission of inquiry appointed a committee of 15 medical experts, including one American, to report on the shooting. That panel had Ananda’s body exhumed and made X-rays to determine the path of the bullet.
By the end of the month, the physicians submitted their report: King Ananda Mahidol of Siam had been assassinated, they concluded. “It was absolutely murder,” said Chook Chotikashien, a prominent Thai member of the panel. The American physician, Edwin Cort, concurred. “The position of the wound and the bullet track seem to show that death was the result of assassination rather than suicide,” Cort said. “Accidental death was improbable.”
Louis Mountbatten, the Earl of Burma, who had visited Thailand in early 1946 and described Ananda as a “frightened, short-sighted boy, his sloping shoulders and thin chest behung with gorgeous diamond-studded decorations, altogether a pathetic and lonely figure,” thought he knew who pulled the trigger. “King Bhumibol shot his brother to obtain the crown,” he wrote in a letter to King George VI of England, according to author William Stevenson, who was granted unprecedented access to Bhumibol and the royal family for his 1999 book, The Revolutionary King. But no evidence to support the accusation has ever emerged.
The commission of inquiry took testimony from family members and staff at the Grand Palace. A page boy testified that when Sangwal, the Princess Mother had seen Ananda’s body, she was so despondent that she turned to Bhumibol and said, “Let us take our lives, too.” Fearing that she might indeed attempt suicide, the aide gathered up all the firearms in the vicinity. So many people at the scene handled the pistol used in Ananda’s shooting that lifting fingerprints from it became impossible.
Police arrested a national assemblyman and began searching the homes of journalists who were reporting that the Thai government was suppressing information on the circumstances of Ananda’s death. Premier Pridi Phanomyong reinstated a World War II state of national emergency, and officials censored the slightest hint of unfavorable reporting on the incident from Bangkok’s newspapers. Rewards were offered for information leading to the conviction of anyone spreading anti-government statements.
In late July, King Bhumibol testified before the commission for six hours. He reiterated that he had left his sleeping brother’s room before the shooting, and when asked “expressed no opinion as to the cause of his brother’s death,” in the words of a Reuters dispatch. There has been speculation among historians that Thai generals might have held the threat of a broader inquiry into the monarchy as a means to diminish royal influence in Thailand. Indeed, Bhumibol later said that in the weeks and months after Ananda’s death, the agents of the military kept a watchful eye upon him, until late August, when Bhumibol and his mother left for Switzerland so he could finish his own studies in Lausanne. He would stay there for four years.
Over the next two months, the investigation continued amid a bloodless coup that saw a military regime take power in Thailand from the civilian government, led by Premier Pridi Phanomyong. Within a week, Pridi was in hiding, accused of having had a hand in Ananda’s death. The king’s former secretary, Senator Chaleo Patoomros, was arrested, along with two palace attendants, including Chit, the servant who had discovered Ananda’s body. “There is definite proof that his late majesty was murdered,” declared General Phin Chunhawn, Deputy Supreme Commander of the Siamese Army.
When Bhumibol returned to Thailand, in 1950, he surrounded himself with a formidable staff of Western-educated diplomats, advisers and financial experts who helped the young king navigate the monarchy’s complex political relationships with the junta and the Thai Border Patrol Police (BPP), which was formed with the assistance of the United States Central Intelligence Agency. In an effort to foster a strong anti-communist ally in Thailand, the United States fully supported King Bhumibol, helping to promote his image as a wise and great king selflessly dedicated to his kingdom. As Bhumibol’s fortune grew, he spent visibly on education, medical care and disaster relief. He married a beautiful and poised Thai woman, Sirikit, and they were a spirited and attractive young couple. In the early 1950s, his love of music prompted him to form the Aw Saw Band, which performed Western songs in a popular weekly radio concert. The people of Thailand were completely taken with the royal family. Photographs of the king could be found in every home and at every street corner. Bhumidol had effectively put a halo above his monarchy, and the generals had little choice but to publicly bow to the king if they hoped to hold sway with the Thai populace.
But eight years after Ananda Mahidol was discovered in his bedroom with a bullet hole in his head, the murder case had stalled in the courts. Investigation and trials had proceeded, but the main suspect, Pridi, the former premier, remained in exile. Ananda’s secretary and the two servants were still incarcerated, but because there was practically no evidence against them, the lower courts would not convict. It wasn’t until October 1954 that General Phao of the Siamese Army, who had continued to push for closure to the case, finally secured convictions, which the Supreme Court of Thailand upheld. The three were sentenced to death for conspiracy to murder King Ananda.
Four months later, on February 17, 1955, without fanfare, General Phao sent them before a firing squad. Decades later, Bhumibol suggested that the executions had “caught him by surprise while he was still considering commuting the sentences,” as Paul M. Handley notes in his 2006 book, The King Never Smiles. Yet Bhumibol had given no public indication after the death sentences were handed down that he was considering any commutations. In a 2006 article he wrote for the Far Eastern Economic Review, Handley dismisses the possibility of a political assassination. “I have no idea whether Ananda shot himself or was killed by Bhumibol, the two possibilities most accepted among historians,” he wrote. “If the latter, I clearly term it an accident that occurred in play.”
King Bhumibol is 83 years old, a beloved figure in Thailand today. As recently as 1999, Time magazine speculated that he was “haunted by the death of his brother.” In The Revolutionary King, William Stevenson insinuates that a notorious Japanese spy, Masanobu Tsuji, and not the three men executed in 1955, was responsible for Ananda’s murder. Thai historians summarily dismiss the charge. So does Handley, who notes that Tsuji was nowhere near Bangkok at the time. But given Stevenson’s unprecedented access to the king, it’s hard to imagine that Bhumibol, who cooperated with the author, did not have any say in advancing the theory—leading some people to believe that the king must believe that three men were unjustly executed for his brother’s death. Stranger still, as journalist Andrew MacGregor Marshall observes, in the last chapter of Stevenson’s book, “even Stevenson—and Bhumibol—are doubtful about the theory” of Tsuji’s involvement.
The fact is, Bhumibol was politically weak in the years after he returned from Switzerland. It is possible that he didn’t speak out about the executions because he perceived a need to let the Thai legal system take its course. It is also possible that he, too, remained uncertain of the circumstances surrounding his brother’s death.
Bhumibol has been a strong unifying force in Thailand, and his political skills have enabled him to maintain the throne’s power in a country whose political history is rife with coups and military rule. But his health is now in question, and the people of Thailand are concerned about a future without him. One possible successor is his son, Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn; cables from the U.S. Embassy recently released by Wikileaks say that Thailand’s ruling elite considered him a political liability and that there were grave doubts about whether he could maintain a stable monarchy. However, one of Bhumibol’s daughters, Crown Princess Maha Sirindhorn, is extremely close to her father, and just as beloved by the Thai people. Bhumibol is permitted to name his successor. The turmoil surrounding his accession highlights the importance of order in the palace.
Books: Revolutionary King: The True-Life Sequel to The King and I, by William Stevenson, Constable and Robinson, paperback, 2001. (first published in 1999) Paul M. Handley, The King Never Smiles: A Biography of Thailand’s Bhumibol Adulyadej, Yale University Press, 2006. Andrew MacGregor Marshall, Thailand’s Moment of Truth: A Secret History of 21st Century Siam, http://www.zenjournalist.com/
Articles: “Siam Boy King Shot to Death; Brother Rules”, Chicago Daily Tribune, June 10, 1946. “Gun Kills Siam’s Young King; Palace Death Held Accident”, New York Times, June 10, 1946. “Brother Succeeds Siam’s King; Shooting Accidental”, The Christian Science Monitor, June 10, 1946. “Crisis in Siam”, Christian Science Monitor, June 10, 1946. “Siam Declares a Full Year of Mourning for Slain King”, Washington Post, June 11, 1946. “New Evidence Asked on Siam King’s Death” , New York Times, June 16, 1946. “Mystery Death of Siam’s King Stirs Politicos”, Chicago Daily Tribune, June 21, 1946. “King of Siam’s Coffin Opened; Body X-Rayed”, Chicago Daily Tribune, June 22, 1946. “Report Murder Finding in Death of Siamese King”, Chicago Daily Tribune, June 27, 1946. “King of Siam Slain, 12 Doctors Say”, Chicago Daily Tribune, July 3, 1946. “Siamese Queen To Testify”, New York Times, July 5, 1946. “Siam Puts Lid on Rumors of King’s Murder”, Chicago Daily Tribune, July 7, 1946. “Tension is Increased with Arrests in Siam”, New York Times, July 7, 1946. “New King Aids Probe of Siam Ruler’s Death”, Chicago Daily Tribune, July 29, 1946. “Ananda Murdered, Siamese Declare”, New York Times, November 17, 1947. “New Regime Links Aide of Ex-Leader To King’s ‘Murder’”, Washington Post, November 17, 1947. “Siamese King’s 1946 Gun Death Still Mystery: Material for a Thriller in Palace Tragedy”, Chicago Daily Tribune, August 16, 1948. “Foreign News: Orchids for the Secretary”, Time Magazine, February 28, 1955. “The King and Ire”, Time, December 6, 1999.
September 23, 2011
It is noon on a humid Saturday in the fall of 1861, and a missionary by the name of Francesco Borghero has been summoned to a parade ground in Abomey, the capital of the small West African state of Dahomey. He is seated on one side of a huge, open square right in the center of the town–Dahomey is renowned as a “Black Sparta,” a fiercely militaristic society bent on conquest, whose soldiers strike fear into their enemies all along what is still known as the Slave Coast. The maneuvers begin in the face of a looming downpour, but King Glele is eager to show off the finest unit in his army to his European guest.
As Father Borghero fans himself, 3,000 heavily armed soldiers march into the square and begin a mock assault on a series of defenses designed to represent an enemy capital. The Dahomean troops are a fearsome sight, barefoot and bristling with clubs and knives. A few, known as Reapers, are armed with gleaming three-foot-long straight razors, each wielded two-handed and capable, the priest is told, of slicing a man clean in two.
The soldiers advance in silence, reconnoitering. Their first obstacle is a wall—huge piles of acacia branches bristling with needle-sharp thorns, forming a barricade that stretches nearly 440 yards. The troops rush it furiously, ignoring the wounds that the two-inch-long thorns inflict. After scrambling to the top, they mime hand-to-hand combat with imaginary defenders, fall back, scale the thorn wall a second time, then storm a group of huts and drag a group of cringing “prisoners” to where Glele stands, assessing their performance. The bravest are presented with belts made from acacia thorns. Proud to show themselves impervious to pain, the warriors strap their trophies around their waists.
The general who led the assault appears and gives a lengthy speech, comparing the valor of Dahomey’s warrior elite to that of European troops and suggesting that such equally brave peoples should never be enemies. Borghero listens, but his mind is wandering. He finds the general captivating: “slender but shapely, proud of bearing, but without affectation.” Not too tall, perhaps, nor excessively muscular. But then, of course, the general is a woman, as are all 3,000 of her troops. Father Borghero has been watching the King of Dahomey’s famed corps of “amazons,” as contemporary writers termed them—the only female soldiers in the world who then routinely served as combat troops.
September 20, 2011
On an apple-crisp fall day in 1897, an 18-year-old University of Georgia fullback named Richard Von Gammon launched himself into Virginia’s oncoming rush and vanished beneath a heap of players. He was the only one who didn’t get up. Lying flat on the field at Atlanta’s Brisbane Park, he began to vomit as his teammates circled around him. His skin grew pale and translucent as parchment. One witness recalled that he “raised his eyes in mute appeal, his lips quavered, but he could not speak.” The team doctor plunged a needle full of morphine into Von Gammon’s chest and then realized the blood was coming from the boy’s head; he had suffered a skull fracture and concussion. His teammates placed him in a horse-drawn carriage headed for Grady Hospital, where he died overnight. His only headgear had been a thick thatch of dark hair.
Fatalities are still a hazard of football—the most recent example being the death of Frostburg State University fullback Derek Sheely after a practice this past August—but they are much rarer today. The tragedy that befell Richard Von Gammon at the turn of the 20th century helped galvanize a national controversy about the very nature of the sport: Was football a proper pastime? Or, as critics alleged, was it as violent and deadly as the gladiatorial combat of ancient Rome? The debate raged among Ivy League university presidents, Progressive Era reformers, muckraking journalists and politicians. Ultimately, President Theodore Roosevelt, a passionate advocate of the game, brokered an effort to rewrite its rules. (More…)
September 15, 2011
It was the great flash point of the 20th century, an act that set off a chain reaction of calamity: two World Wars, 80 million deaths, the Russian Revolution, the rise of Hitler, the atomic bomb. Yet it might never have happened–we’re now told– had Gavrilo Princip not got hungry for a sandwich.
We’re talking the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, of course—the murder that set the crumbling Austro-Hungarian Empire on a collision course with Serbia, and Europe down the slippery slope that led to the outbreak of the First World War a month after Princip pulled the trigger on June 28, 1914. More specifically, though, we’re talking the version of events that’s being taught in many schools today. It’s an account that, while respectful of the significance of Franz Ferdinand’s death, hooks pupils’ attention by stressing a tiny, awe-inspiring detail: that if Princip had not stopped to eat a sandwich where he did, he would never have been in the right place to spot his target. No sandwich, no shooting. No shooting, no war.
September 13, 2011
In April 1949, just as the Cold War was beginning to intensify, actor, singer and civil rights activist Paul Robeson traveled to France to attend the Soviet Union-sponsored Paris Peace Conference. After singing “Joe Hill,” the famous ballad about a Swedish-born union activist falsely accused and convicted of murder and executed in Utah in 1915, Robeson addressed the audience and began speaking extemporaneously, as he often did, about the lives of black people in the United States. Robeson’s main point was that World War III was not inevitable, as many Americans did not want war with the Soviet Union.
Before he took the stage, however, his speech had somehow already been transcribed and dispatched back to the United States by the Associated Press. By the following day, editorialists and politicians had branded Robeson a communist traitor for insinuating that black Americans would not fight in a war against the Soviet Union. Historians would later discover that Robeson had been misquoted, but the damage had been almost instantly done. And because he was out of the country, the singer was unaware of the firestorm brewing back home over the speech. It was the beginning of the end for Robeson, who would soon be declared “the Kremlin’s voice of America” by a witness at hearings by the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC). Committee chair John Wood, a Georgia Democrat, summoned baseball great Jackie Robinson to Washington. Robinson, appearing reluctantly, denounced Robeson’s views and assured the country that the singer did not speak on behalf of black Americans. Robeson’s passport was soon revoked, and 85 of his planned concerts in the United States were canceled. Some in the press were calling for his execution. Later that summer, in civil rights-friendly Westchester County, New York, at the one concert that was not canceled, anti-communist groups and Ku Klux Klan types hurled racial epithets, attacked concertgoers with baseball bats and rocks and burned Robeson in effigy. A man who had exemplified American upward mobility had suddenly become public enemy number one. Not even the leading black spokesmen of the day, whose causes Robeson had championed at great personal cost, felt safe enough to stand by the man dubbed as the “Black Stalin” during the Red Scare of the late 1940s and ’50s.
Paul Leroy Robeson was born in 1898, the son of a runaway slave, William Drew Robeson. He grew up in Princeton, New Jersey, where he gained fame as one of the greatest football players ever, earning back-to-back first-team All-America honors in 1917 and 1918 at Rutgers University. But Robeson was a scholar as well. A member of the Rutgers honor society, Cap and Skull, he was chosen as valedictorian of his class, and after earning his bachelor’s degree, he worked his way through Columbia Law School while playing professional football. Although he had a brief stint at a New York law firm after graduating, Robeson’s voice brought him public acclaim. Soon he was starring on Broadway, as well as on the greatest stages around the world, in plays such as Shakespeare’s Othello and the Gershwin brothers’ Porgy and Bess. His resonant bass-baritone voice made him a recording star as well, and by the 1930s, he became a box office sensation in the film Show Boat with his stirring rendition of “Ol Man River.”
Yet Robeson, who traveled the world and was purported to speak more than a dozen languages, became increasingly active in the rights of exploited workers, particularly blacks in the South, and he associated himself with communist causes from Africa to the Soviet Union. After a visit to Eastern Europe in 1934, where he was nearly attacked by Nazis in Germany, Robeson experienced nothing but adulation and respect in the USSR—a nation he believed did not harbor any resentment or racial animosity toward blacks. “Here, I am not a Negro but a human being for the first time in my life,” he said. “I walk in full human dignity.”
When communists invited him to the stage at the Paris Peace Congress, Robeson was urged to say a few words after an enthusiastic crowd heard him sing. French transcripts of the speech obtained by Robeson’s biographer Martin Duberman indicate that Robeson said, ”We in America do not forget that it is on the backs of the poor whites of Europe…and on the backs of millions of black people the wealth of America has been acquired. And we are resolved that it shall be distributed in an equitable manner among all of our children and we don’t want any hysterical stupidity about our participating in a war against anybody no matter whom. We are determined to fight for peace. [Applause] We do not wish to fight the Soviet Union. [Applause]”
Lansing Warren, a correspondent covering the conference for the New York Times, reported a similar promise for peace in his dispatch for the newspaper, relegating Robeson’s comments toward the end of his story. But the Associated Press’s version of Robeson’s remarks read: “It is unthinkable that American Negros would go to war on behalf of those who have oppressed us for generations against the Soviet Union which in one generation has lifted our people to full human dignity.” (The source of that transcript remains unknown; the singer’s son Paul Robeson Jr. has said that because it was filed before his father actually spoke, the anonymous AP correspondent might have cobbled it together from remarks his father had previously made in Europe.)
By the next day, the press was reporting that Robeson was a traitor. According to Robeson Jr., his father had “no idea really that this was going on till they called him from New York and said, hey, you’d better say something, that you’re in immense trouble here in the United States.” Instead, Robeson continued his tour, deciding to address the “out of context” quotes when he returned, unaware of how much damage the AP account was doing to his reputation.
Unbeknownst to Robeson, Roy Wilkins and Walter White of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) were pressured by the U.S. State Department to issue a formal response to the singer’s purported comments. The NAACP, always wary of being linked in any way to communists, dissociated itself from Robeson. Channing Tobias, a member of the NAACP board of directors, called him “an ingrate.” Three months later, on July 18, 1949, Jackie Robinson was brought to Washington, D.C., to testify before HUAC for the purpose of obliterating Robeson’s leadership role in the American black community. The Brooklyn Dodgers’ second baseman assured Americans that Robeson did not speak for all blacks with his “silly” personal views. Everyone from conservatives to Eleanor Roosevelt criticized the singer. The former first lady and civil rights activist noted, “Mr. Robeson does his people great harm in trying to line them up on the Communist side of political picture. Jackie Robinson helps them greatly by his forthright statements.”
For Robeson, the criticism was piercing, especially coming from the baseball star. It was, after all, Robeson who was one of Jackie Robinson’s strongest advocates, and the singer once urged a boycott of Yankee Stadium because baseball was not integrated. Newspapers across the country praised Robinson’s testimony; one called it “four hits and no errors” for America. But lost in the reporting was the fact that Robinson did not pass up the chance to land a subtle dig at the communist hysteria that underlay the HUAC hearings. The committee chairs—including known Klan sympathizers Martin Dies Jr. of Texas and John Rankin of Mississippi—could not have been all smiles as Robinson finished speaking.
In a carefully worded statement, prepared with the help of Brooklyn Dodgers general manager Branch Rickey, Robinson said, “The fact that because it is a communist who denounces injustice in the courts, police brutality and lynching, when it happens, doesn’t change the truth of his charges.” Racial discrimination, Robinson said, is not “a creation of communist imagination.”
For his part, Robeson refused to be drawn into a personal feud with Robinson because “to do that, would be exactly what the other group wants us to do.” But the backlash against Robeson was immediate. His blacklisting and the revocation of his passport rendered him unable to work or travel, and he saw his yearly income drop from more than $150,000 to less than $3,000. In August 1949, he managed to book a concert in Peekskill, New York, but anti-civil rights factions within the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars caused a riot, injuring hundreds, thirteen of them seriously. One famous photograph from the riot pictured a highly decorated black World War I aviator being beaten by police and a state trooper. The press largely blamed communist agitators for provoking anti-American fervor.
Robeson’s name was stricken from the college All-America football teams. Newsreel footage of him was destroyed, recordings were erased and there was a clear effort in the media to avoid any mention of his name. Years later, he was brought before HUAC and asked to identify members of the Communist Party and to admit to his own membership. Robeson reminded the committee that he was a lawyer and that the Communist Party was a legal party in the United States; then he invoked his Fifth Amendment rights. He closed his testimony by saying, “You gentlemen belong with the Alien and Sedition Acts, and you are the nonpatriots, and you are the un-Americans, and you ought to be ashamed of yourselves.”
Toward the end of his life, Jackie Robinson had a chance to reflect on the incident and his invitation to testify before HUAC. He wrote in his autobiography, “I would reject such an invitation if offered now…. I have grown wiser and closer to the painful truths about America’s destructiveness. And I do have increased respect for Paul Robeson who, over the span of twenty years, sacrificed himself, his career and the wealth and comfort he once enjoyed because, I believe, he was sincerely trying to help his people.”
Books: Paul Robeson Jr. The Undiscovered Paul Robeson: Quest for Freedom, 1939-1976, John Wiley & Sons, Inc. 2010. Martin B. Duberman. Paul Robeson, Knopf, 1988. Paul Robeson, Edited with an Introduction by Philip S. Foner. Paul Robeson Speaks, Kensington Publishing Corp. 1978. Jackie Robinson. I Never Had it Made: An Autobiography, Putnam, 1972. Penny M. Von Eschen. Race Against Empire: Black Americans and Anticolonialism, 1937-1957, Cornell University, 1997. Joseph Dorinson, Henry Foner, William Pencak. Paul Robeson: Essays on His Life and Legacy, McFarland & Company, Inc., 2002. Lindsey R. Swindall. Intersections in Theatrics and Politics: The Case of Paul Robeson and Othello, Dissertation, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, 2007.
Articles: “Text of Jackie Robinson’s Testimony in DC: Famed Ballplayer Hits Discrimination In US.” The New Amsterdam News, July 23, 1949. “‘Not Mad At Jackie’—Robeson Tells Press,” Chicago Defender, July 30, 1949. “Truman, Mrs. FDR Hit Robeson Riot” Chicago Defender, September 17, 1949. “Paul Robeson and Jackie Robinson: Athletes and Activists at Armageddon,” Joseph Dorinson, Pennsylvania History, Vol. 66, No. 1, Paul Robeson (1898-1976) –A Centennial Symposium (Winter 1999). “Testimony of Paul Robeson before the House Committee on Un-American Activities, June 12, 1956.” http://historymatters.gmu.edu/d/6440