Barbara Ransby on the Melissa Harris-Perry Show

Eslanda: The LThe Large and Unconventional Life of Mrs. Paul RobesonLast week, Yale University Press author Barbara Ransby appeared on MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry show to discuss her new book, Eslanda: The Large and Unconventional Life of Mrs. Paul Robeson. The interview discusses Essie’s many humanitarian and intellectual pursuits— as a writer, chemist, academic, activist, celebrity and world traveler. When Harris-Perry asks “What do we need to know about this woman?” author Ransby replies:

Well in some ways she was a biographer’s dream and a filmmaker’s dream, because she lived a large political life, large professional life, and traveled to 40 countries on five continents at a time when women’s lives were prescribed.

The interview goes on to explore Eslanda’s relationship to Paul Robeson, which was complicated but always cordial, and the privilege that resulted from their trials. The panel’s discussion on the history of celebrity wives and their political privileges is relevant to both Essie’s time and the present.

Watch the interview here! Read more about Eslanda on

Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published.