introduction. march of the volunteers
1. At the concert, Robeson also sang non- American folk songs in French, Russian,
Spanish, Yiddish, and German, among other languages. He remarked to a journalist,
“[These] songs were composed by men trying to make work easier, trying to ﬁnd a way
out. . . . When I sing, ‘let my people go,’ . . . it is no longer just a Negro song — it is a
symbol of those seeking freedom.” Dorn, “Paul Robeson Told Me,” 131.
2. Liu Liangmo, a Chinese immigrant and activist whose weekly column in the Pitts-
burgh Courier detailed interesting facts about Chinese life and struggle, taught Robeson
the song. See Liu, “Paul Robeson”; and G. Robinson, “Internationalism and Justice.”
3. Author’s translation.
4. “Paul Robeson: A Voice That Inspired China,” China Today, January 15, 2009. Key-
note Records released a full- scale album of Robeson singing this song and other Chi-
nese resistance anthems in 1941.
5. See G. Robinson, “Internationalism and Justice,” 266 – 72.
6. See Gallicchio, The African American Encounter with Japan and China, 164 – 65, 174 – 78;
Jenkins, “Two Sleeping Giants”; and Jones, Yellow Music, 1 – 7.
7. Dorn, “Paul Robeson Told Me,” 131.
8. Downing, Radical Media, v, xi.
9. This book does not avoid cultural criticism of the political and cultural meanings
through which people interpreted and represented the Cold War. In fact, my intention
is to acknowledge and unpack the limits of representation — that representation is a prac-
tice that never supplies unspoiled replica of that which is represented, which is never
simply objective, and which always signiﬁes diﬀerential and unequal power dynamics
between the inscriber / author and the represented, as well as the roles inscription, de-
piction, and knowledge production have played in subjugating and displacing nonelite
perspectives and legitimizing and magnifying the agency and ideas of predominantly
elite speakers. Numerous scholars have taken a similar approach. See Appy, Cold War
Constructions; Hixson, Parting the Curtain; Kwon, The Other Cold War; Lucas, Freedom’s War;
E. May, Homeward Bound; L. May, Recasting America; Melley, Empire of Conspiracy; Nadel,