Paul Robeson: "Science Fiction" As Social Fact
by Nadra Enzi
My boyhood psyche was captivated by comic book and science fiction models of maximized human potential. Their two-fisted Renaissance manhood energized my zeal for self-development and discovering a life's purpose. Little did I know that our community had produced a Renaissance man who personified "multi-tasking" and was/is/will always be, superlative.
EE "Doc" Smith, the father of the space opera, had a protagonist in his industry classic Lensmen series named Kimball Kinnison. Mr. Kennison was a superman, the product of centuries of alien-guided marriage and secret eugenics.
Paul Robeson was the product of a father who rose to excellence by surviving slave experiences that rival sci-fi at its lurid peak! Every brainy, brawny superhero of my youth was matched and surpassed by Paul Robeson.
Imagine a modern celebrity with Denzel Washington's star power; a linebackers physique; Barry White's voice; and genius enough to be a Phi Beta Kappa Ivy League valedictorian and two-time All American with fifteen varsity letters in four sports who played professional football while attending Columbia Law School.
Still in law school, he was approached by two boxing promoters who tried to persuade him to challenge the top heavy weights of that era. Robeson was strong enough to have literally lifted an opposing player over his head during one heated game.
That said, picture his hypothetical contemporary equivalent being thought adept enough to take on Mike Tyson or Evander Holifield. During the voracious racial realization most collegians experience, the heroes of boyhood receded in the exceedingly broad shadow of this brother beyond brothers...and others.
The "science fiction" of Paul Robeson was his virtuosity. This was all the more astonishing given the early 20th Century popular opinion that most African-Americans were not even dull normal intellectually.
One instructor at his alma mater, Rutgers University, sank to employing racist pseudo-science by explaining Robeson's abilities as proof of "white blood!?!" His breadth of genius seems like science fiction.
Even now, with technology and more educational spending that ever, how many world class scholar/athlete/entertainer/activists do we have running around in public life? Thug-making and timid intellectualism is a vulgar disconnect from Robeson's legacy. Mediocrity within a digitally mastered, special effects culture truly is not progress. This deficit is a stronger arguement than mine to seriously recognize and replicate Paul Robeson, everyman as real life archetype.
His is a compelling case for the merit of cloning, with apologies to the medical ethicists whom this article may offend. Paul Robeson is simply "science fiction" as social fact.