UCL Institute of the Americas


‘Arise! Ye Who Refuse to be Bond Slaves:’ Paul Robeson, ‘The Black King of Songs,’ and China

19 October 2022, 5:30 pm–7:00 pm

Event poster showing a photograph of the UCL Portico, the event and series titles, guest speaker and date

An event part of the UCL Institute of the Americas The Americas and the World Seminar Series

This event is free.

Event Information

Open to



Sold out




UCL Institute of the Americas
YouTube Widget Placeholderhttps://youtu.be/qEgEH3vXjXk
This lecture is adapted from Gao Yunxiang’s new book 'Arise, Africa! Roar, China! Black and Chinese Citizens of the World in the Twentieth Century' (UNC Press, December 2021). In this lecture, Professor Gao unpacks the dynamic yet scarcely noted relations between Paul Robeson (1898-1976), the world famous African American singer, actor, athlete, lawyer, and political activist, and China throughout most of the twentieth century. Gao examines how the reciprocal embrace of Robeson and the People’s Republic of China powerfully transformed his image from a celebrated yet racialized entertainer in the PRC to a heroic model for socialist citizenry. The event featured discussions of Afro-China solidarity and Black internationalism in Asia, as well as questions from the audience.

About the Speaker

Professor Gao Yunxiang

Professor of History at Toronto Metropolitan University

Professor Gao Yunxiang's research focuses primarily on trans-Pacific cultural history in the twentieth century through a multilingual approach. She has written two books. Her most recent work is Arise, Africa! Roar, China!: Black and Chinese Citizens of the World in the Twentieth Century (University of North Carolina Press, 2021).  Professor Gao has published articles in venues such as History Today, The Du Bois Review, Gender and History, The Journal of American East-Asian Relations, Modern Chinese Literature and Culture, Socialism and Democracy, and Sport in Society. Several of her articles have been translated into Chinese. Currently, she is finishing two biographies, modelling a trans-nationalized Asian and Asian American history. They are tentatively entitled “Soo Yong: A Hollywood Actress and Cosmopolitan of the Asian Diasporas” and “Wang Yung: From Child Bride, Shanghai’s ‘Literary Star,’ to the Trans-Pacific ‘Drama Queen.’”

Other events in this series