- Paul Robeson
(1898-1976), the third African American to attend Rutgers University, graduated valedictorian with 15 varsity letters in four sports. After graduating from Columbia University Law School, he left law practice early on to pursue a career in acting and singing. The roles he is most famous for are Eugene O'Neill's All God's Chillun Got Wings (1924), The Emperor Jones (1924), and The Hairy Ape (1931), as well as Porgy and Bess (1928), Othello (1930), and Showboat (1928), in which he created a sensation singing "Ol' Man River." Robeson spent his life championing leftist, antifascist, and civil rights causes. During the McCarthy era he was blacklisted and restricted from traveling outside of the United States until 1958. During his career he achieved immense worldwide fame, but always mixed with controversy.