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A managing director is facing jail for stealing £55,000 from her company to pay for a luxury holiday to the Far East, gastric band surgery and dog grooming.Jean Wilson, splurged almost £10,000 on an extravagant trip to Singapore, Bali and Thailand - organised through Audley Travel - where she stayed in luxury hotels.His rendition of Ol’ Man River, from Hammerstein and Kern’s musical Show Boat, made him world famous.‘A song of defiance’, says Jeff Sparrow in this conscientious and often painful biography, which somehow, through Robeson’s rich, warm, reverberating voice, revealed ‘the tremendous strength forged by centuries of resistance’.Whether you were black or white, rich or poor, Robeson’s melodious delivery reminded people of their own childhoods, struggles and homes now left behind.The white presbyterians expected William to keep the congregation ‘in line’ and he was not to preach against racial injustices. He found work as a dustbin man, collecting ashes in a cart, and was determined that Paul, born in 1898, would be educated.Paul never lost his anger about the fact that ‘upon the backs of my people was developed the primary wealth of America’, and the bigotry he experienced throughout his life makes shocking reading.This would not only apply to future repairs but also means that previous repairs need to be removed and re-done.
The funeral, attended by Harry Belafonte and the widow of Malcolm X, was held at the Mother African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church in Harlem.It was not a massively well attended event, however.Paul Robeson was already somewhat forgotten, having vanished from the public stage in 1961 when he was diagnosed with ‘depressive paranoid psychosis’. But in the Twenties and Thirties, Robeson was a Hollywood box office draw, with King Solomon’s Mines and Sanders Of The River.One invoice, purportedly for a special needs magazine, was in fact a £420 bill for a domestic upholstery cleaning company used by a friend of Wilson.
Wilson, who lived in a rented mansion, also engaged with contracts and suppliers for the company and inflated sums to be higher than their actual costs which meant she had an 'additional bonus' at the end of the year.
His father, William Drew Robeson, was a slave and ‘kept in bondage on the tobacco farm’ in North Carolina.