Horne's last years at MGM overlapped with the first HUAC hearings. Horne, an outspoken proponent of equal rights, who from the beginning of her career had associated with leftists and “agitators,” got caught up in the anti-communist insanity. One of those agitators was Paul Robeson, a singer, actor and political firebrand who was a mentor and friend to Horne. But once the red panic began to heat up, that friendship became problematic for Lena, and like so many others, she was forced to choose between her career and her friendships.
Here is a list of published sources that the entire season draws from:
Dalton Trumbo: Blacklisted Hollywood Radical by Larry Ceplair and Christopher Trumbo
Odd Man Out: A Memoir of the Hollywood Ten by Edward Dmytryk
City of Nets by Otto Friedrich
Hollywood Radical, Or How I Learned to Love the Blacklist by Bernard Gordon
I Said Yes to Everything by Lee Grant
Naming Names by Victor S. Navasky
West of Eden: An American Place by Jean Stein
Sources specific to this episode:
The Hornes: An American Family, by Gail Lumet Buckley
The Undiscovered Paul Robeson: An Artist’s Journey, 1898 – 1939 by Paul Robeson Jr.
Stormy Weather: The Life of Lena Horne by James Gavin
Lena by Lena Horne and Richard Schickel
“The Politics of Cafe Society” by David W. Stowe The Journal of American History Vol. 84, No. 4 (Mar., 1998)
Lena Horne, interviewed by Gene De Alessi, April 12, 1966, Pacifica Radio Archives
Ed Sullivan, “Ed Sullivan’s Little Old New York,” The Pittsburgh Press, Oct. 11, 1951.
“Negroes Won’t Fight Russia, Robeson Says,” Los Angeles Times, Apr. 21, 1949.
Paul Pushkin, “Robeson Pleased With the Soviet Social Scheme,” Baltimore Afro-American, Jan. 19, 1935.
John Meroney, “The Red-Baiting of Lena Horne,” The Atlantic, Aug. 27, 2015,
“Negro Leader Takes Issue With Robeson,” Los Angeles Times, Apr. 21, 1949.
This episode includes excerpts from the following:
Clip from Show Boat of Robeson singing "Ol' Man River."
Robeson's post-1938 version of the lyrics:
Lena Horne interviewed on KPFA radio, 1966:
Lena Horne: The Lady and Her Music:
Lena Horne talking to Shirley Eder in 1969:
This episode was written by Karina Longworth and Matthew Dessem, and edited by Sam Dingman. Our production and research assistant is Lindsey D. Schoenholtz. Our logo was designed by Teddy Blanks.