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A Controversial Play

Background | O'Neill's Words | Press Coverage | Robeson's Words | Today


The Play

Portrait of Paul Robeson
"In 'All God's Chillun' we have the struggle of a man and woman, both fine struggling human beings, against forces they could not control, -- indeed, scarcely comprehend -- accentuated by the almost Christ-like spiritual force of the Negro husband, -- a play of great strength and beautiful spirit, mocking all petty prejudice, emphasizing the humanness, and in Mr. O'Neill's words, 'the oneness' of mankind."
-- Paul Robeson, in the December 1924 issue of Opportunity

The Controversy

Portrait of Paul Robeson
"In retrospect all the excitement about 'All God's Chillun' seems rather amusing, but at the time of the play's production it caused many an anxious moment. All concerned were absolutely amazed at the ridiculous critical reaction. The play meant anything and everything from segregated schools to various phases of intermarriage... those who object most strenuously know mostly nothing of the play and in any event know little of the theatre and have no right to judge a playwright of O'Neill's talents."
-- Paul Robeson, in the December 1924 issue of Opportunity
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