Fit the Battle is a performance and commemoration created for Peekskill, NY that honors singer, Civil Rights activist, actor and athlete Paul Robeson and his celebrated baritone voice. The piece uses monumental sculpture and a mass gathering of Baritone Saxophones to immortalize the fervor and spirit of this critical figure of American history and his global reaching vision of unity. The industrial past of Peekskill and the cultural diversity of its population echo the cry for solidarity of working people that Robeson voiced with eloquence and determination. This project seeks the power of community to become a temporary monument. The project is directed by Justin Randolph Thompson in collaboration with Bradly Dever Treadaway and Jason Thompson.The work is supported and coordinated by Salem Art Works. Distinguished Scholar Mark Anthony Neal delivered a keynote speech as a part of the performance.
We are absolutely honored that Professor Mark Anthony Neal will deliver a keynote speech for this performance addressing Paul Robeson, his legacy, life and impact.
Mark Anthony Neal is Professor of Black Popular Culture in the Department of African and African-American Studies at Duke University, where he won the 2010 Robert B. Cox Award for Teaching. Neal has written and lectured extensively on black popular culture, black masculinity, sexism and homophobia in Black communities, and the history of popular music.
Neal is the founder and managing editor of the blog NewBlackMan. He hosts the weekly webcast Left of Black in collaboration with the John Hope Franklin Center at Duke University. A frequent commentator for National Public Radio, Neal contributes to several on-line media outlets, including Huff Post Black Voices and SeeingBlack.com.