I was listening to NPR when the when the subject of Ernest Withers, a photographer who helped the police with their inquiries, came up. Julian Bond has these varied reactions on today's Talk of the Nation.
When I first heard about this, of course I was horrified. I spent my younger years in a political culture that thought informers were the lowest form of life, and to hear that this man who is so respected for his photography...There is a world of difference between helping an arm of your government for a couple of years and being a communist in the time of Stalin. Paul Robeson was life long communist. The Wikipedia page on Robeson and Communism has this chilling passage.
...So he was so well-known and so honored. This is a blot on his reputation if true. And I have no doubt it's true.
Robeson adored Stalin, even though Stalin had countless people murdered, including some who Robeson had considered friends. That's the context. The end.