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Hubert Harrison
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Jeffrey B. Perry Blog

Suggested Summer Reading -- Hubert Harrison biography -- Please share with others and with librarians

June 10, 2012

Tags: "Hubert Harrison: The Voice of Harlem Radicalism, 1883-1918, W. E. Glasker, American Library Association, Jeffrey B. Perry, Choice Magazine

"Scholars who explore the African American experience have long debated the relative importance of race and class and how black leaders addressed these issues. While W. E. B. Du Bois, Asa Philip Randolph, and Marcus Garvey have received considerable attention in this respect, Hubert Harrison has been curiously neglected. In this thorough account, independentscholar Perry, who preserved and inventoried the Harrison papers at Columbia University, restores Harrison to the pivotal place that he deserves. Harrison, an immigrant from St. Croix (former Danish West Indies), was self-educated and an early street orator in Harlem. A member of the Socialist Party, he broke with the Socialists after 1914 to advocate a race-first position. During WW I, he was, as Perry suggests, the most class conscious of the race radicals and the most race conscious of the class radicals. He advocated a mass-based New Negro Manhood Movement that preceded the Harlem Renaissance and the middle-class arts-based movement usually identified with Alain Locke. This critically important book will do for Harrison what David Levering Lewis did for Du Bois (W. E. B. Du Bois, 2 vols., 1993-2000; vol. 1, CH, May'94, 31-5079) and Arnold Rampersad did for Hughes (The Life of Langston Hughes, 2 vols.; CH, Feb'87; CH, Feb'89, 26-3155). Summing Up: Essential. All levels/​libraries."

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Hubert Harrison:
The Voice of
Harlem Radicalism, 1883-1918

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