• United States
  • 1942
  • 89 minutes
  • Black and White
  • 1.33:1
  • English
  •  

By the start of World War II, Paul Robeson had given up his lucrative mainstream work to participate in more socially progressive film and stage productions. Robeson committed his support to Paul Strand and Leo Hurwitz’s political semidocumentary Native Land. With Robeson’s narration and songs, this beautifully shot and edited film exposes violations of Americans’ civil liberties and is a call to action for exploited workers around the country. Scarcely shown since its debut, Native Land represents Robeson’s shift from narrative cinema to the leftist documentaries that would define the final chapter of his controversial film career.

Cast

NarratorPaul Robeson
FarmerFred Johnson
Farmer's wifeMary George
Farmer's sonJohn Rennick
MaidAmelia Romano
White sharecropper Housely Stevens
Black sharecropper Louis Grant
Union president James Hanney
Stool pigeonHoward DaSylva
Harry Carlyle Art Smith
Spy executiveRichard Bishop
Wife of union president Vaughn King
Contact manCharles Jordan
GrocerRobert Strauss
Little girlDolores Cornell
ThugJohn Marlieb
Minister Rev. Charles Webber
Funeral speakerClancy Cooper

Credits

Disc Features

FEATURED ON THE DISC PAUL ROBESON: CITIZEN OF THE WORLD WITH THE FEATURE THE PROUD VALLEY

  • New, digital transfers of The Proud Valley and Native Land created from the best surviving elements
  • “The Story of Native Land,” a new video interview with cinematographer Tom Hurwitz, son of Frontier Films cofounder and Native Land codirector Leo Hurwitz
  • 1958 Pacifica Radio interview with Paul Robeson (Courtesy of Pacifica Radio Archives)
  • Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing

Film Essays

Paul Robeson: A Modern Man

By Clement Alexander PriceFebruary 12, 2007

Called by some the Great Forerunner and others the Tallest Tree in Our Forest, Paul Robeson is . . . Read more »

Photo Galleries


News

Spotlight on Leo Hurwitz

March 11, 2010

The conventional narrative of American documentary filmmaking generally jumps from 1922’s . . . Read more »


News

Strand Preserved

November 11, 2008

Groundbreaking modernist artist Paul Strand (1890–1976) might have been better known for his . . . Read more »


Film Essays

Paul Robeson: A Modern Man

By Clement Alexander PriceFebruary 12, 2007

Called by some the Great Forerunner and others the Tallest Tree in Our Forest, Paul Robeson is . . . Read more »