Paul Robeson (rear, center) poses with members of the Rutgers Varsity Club (1917-1918)
The 27th stamp in the United States Postal Service’s Black Heritage series honors one of Rutgers’ most famous alumni: artist, singer, scholar, athlete and human rights advocate Paul Robeson. Robeson, who died in 1976, came to Rutgers in 1915 on a four-year scholarship, graduating as valedictorian in 1919 after a brilliant academic and athletic career.
All three Rutgers campuses will pay tribute to Robeson during Black History Month with free events that are open to the public.
The official Paul Robeson stamp.
In Newark, the U.S. Postal Service and Rutgers is having a “Paul Robeson Stamp Unveiling Second Day Ceremony” on Monday, Feb. 9, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Paul Robeson Campus Center’s Multipurpose Room, 350 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. Robeson’s son, Paul Robeson Jr., will deliver the keynote address. Area dignitaries and government officials are slated to participate. The event will include performances by the Newark Boys Apprentice Choir and by Return to the Source, as well as reminiscences from special guests.
“I think it is safe to consider Paul Robeson to be a Renaissance man and a hero of any century, the type of student we produce at Rutgers,” said Associate Provost of Rutgers–Newark, Marcia Brown.
The African-American studies program and the Camden Honors College, in concert with the U.S. Postal Service, are holding their stamp unveiling event on Wednesday, Feb. 11, at 12:15 p.m. at the Camden Campus Center, North Conference Room, 326 Penn St.
The Paul Robeson Cultural Center and the U.S. Postal Service are hosting a “Rutgers Celebration of the Robeson Stamp” on Friday, Feb. 27, from 2 to 3:30 p.m. at Kirkpatrick Chapel, 81 Somerset St., New Brunswick. Among the speakers will be Paul Robeson Jr., President Richard L. McCormick, and Howard Haughton, president of the New Jersey association of Robeson’s fraternity, Alpha Phi Alpha. The event will feature performances by the Rutgers Glee Club and students from New Brunswick’s Paul Robeson Community Theme School for the Arts.
The centerpiece of the celebration will be the unveiling of a limited collectible Rutgers–Paul Robeson U.S. Postal Service cachet. A cachet, in philatelic terms refers to a commemorative design printed on an envelope.
The commemorative cachets, which are encased in plastic and include an image of Robeson, the stamp and a dated cancellation mark with the Paul Robeson Cultural Center name and the Rutgers University logo, will sell for $5 each. Only 1,000 cachets will be available for purchase at the event, as well as at postal service facilities on the New Brunswick-Piscataway campuses and area post offices during the next 30 days.