History

In an ordinary neighborhood in the middle of West Philadelphia is The Paul Robeson House where an extraordinary man lived. Located at 4951 Walnut Street, it is one of three identical twin houses designed in 1907 by nationally renowned Philadelphia architect E. Allen Wilson and constructed in 1911. The House was purchased in 1959 by Paul Robeson’s sister Marian R. Forsythe, and became the residence of the acclaimed scholar, athlete, performer and human rights activist during the last 10 years of his life before his death in 1976.

Today, this former home of Paul Leroy Robeson, Esq., owned and operated by the West Philadelphia Cultural Alliance (WPCA) since 1994, has become an historic site of national prominence. The primary mission of The Paul Robeson House is to heighten awareness of the life, legacy and philosophy of Paul Robeson and his historical significance to the Philadelphia region, the state of Pennsylvania, the nation and the world.

As a project of the West Philadelphia Cultural Alliance, The Paul Robeson House expands WPCA’s three tiered mission of:

It accomplishes this mission by producing, presenting and promoting exhibition, educational and community programs that make learning experiences about Robeson accessible to all ages and cultures.

In 1991, the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission declared  The Paul Robeson House an historical landmark and in 2000 the National Trust for Historic Preservation designated it an Official Project of Save America’s Treasures. The property is also designated a National Historical Site in the National Register and is eligible for National Landmark status.