"Sometimes I feel like a motherless child"
Paul Leroy Robeson (April 9, 1898 - January 3, 1976) was the son of William Drew Robeson, a runaway slave and Maria Louisa Bustill, daughter of a prominent Philadelphia Quaker family. Maria died tragically in a fire when Paul was six years old.
In 1915 Paul won an academic scholarship to Rutgers where he was the third African American to enroll and the only one there during his time. He excelled scholastically with acceptance into Phi Beta Kappa and being elected class valedictorian.
He also excelled in athletics earning varsity letters in football, baseball, basketball, and track. In his junior and senior years he was selected first team All American in football.