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Hubert Harrison
Featured in
May-August 2017
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Jeffrey B. Perry Blog

Hubert Harrison
and "Historic Background
to the 'Occupy Wall Street Legacy'”
Letter to the New York Times
September 14, 2013

September 26, 2013

Tags: Hubert Harrison, Hubert H. Harrison, Historic Background to the Occupy Wall Street Legacy, Letter to the New York Times, September 14, Charles Blow, Jeffrey B. Perry

14 September 2013

To the editor of The New York Times

Historic Background to the “Occupy Wall Street Legacy”

Charles Blow (September 14) writes of the “Occupy Wall Street Legacy” “ingraining in the national conscience the idea that our extreme levels of inequality are politically untenable and morally unacceptable.” Background to that legacy – the message and the occupation of Wall Street – goes back over one hundred years.

Exactly 101 years ago (on September 14, 1912) in “Enlightening Wall Street” the New York Times reported that “Hubert Harrison, an eloquent and forceful negro speaker, shattered all records for distance in an address on Socialism in front of the Stock Exchange building yesterday.” His “voice carried to the furthermost limits of the crowd,” he “was still going strong, at the beginning of the third hour,” and he continued on until “the big gong in the Exchange announced the closing.”

Hubert Harrison (1883-1927) was a brilliant writer, orator, editor and political activist who was described by J. A. Rogers as “the foremost Afro-American intellect of his time” and by A. Philip Randolph as “the father of Harlem Radicalism.” Arthur Schomburg eulogized at Harrison’s funeral that he “was ahead of his time.” Schomburg was correct – and we have much to learn today from the life and work of Hubert Harrison who over 100 years ago delivered an important egalitarian message while seeking to have his audience occupy Wall Street.

Dr. Jeffrey B. Perry

For more on Hubert Harrison CLICK HERE

For the New York Times article from 1912 CLICK HERE

For the Charles Blow column CLICK HERE

The New York Times did not publish this letter.



Brief Comments on the Importance of the Work of
Theodore W. Allen
author of
The Invention of the White Race
by Jeffrey B. Perry

September 25, 2013

Tags: Theodore W. Allen, The Invention of the White Race, Verso Books, The Origin of Racial Oppression in Anglo-America, Racial Oppression and Social Control, Carl Degler, Winthrop D. Jordan, Oscar and Mary Handlin, Eric Williams, Timothy Breen, Slavery, Racism, and Democracy, Edmund S. Morgan, American Slavery, American Freedom, The Wages of Whiteness, Cultural Logic, Jeffrey B. Perry, The Developing Conjuncture and Some Insights from Hubert Harrison and Theodore W. Allen On the Centrality of the Fight Against White Supremacy, Frederick Engels, Frederick A. Sorge, Frederick Jackson Turner, Richard T. Ely, Morris Hillquit, John R. Commons, Selig Perlman, Mary Ritter Beard, Charles A. Beard, William Z. Foster, W. E. B. Du Bois, Ulrich Bonnell Phillips, Lewis C. Gray, Roger W. Shugg, Hubert Harrison, David Roediger, Winthrop D. Jordan, Edmund S. Morgan, Eric Williams, C. L. R. James, Norman Ware, Herman Schlueter, Philip S. Foner, Harry Heywood, James S. Allen, Sol Auerbach, Toward a Revolution in Labor History

I strongly encourage people who want to know what Theodore W. Allen’s The Invention of the White Race” is about to read it in the original.

His two-volume “classic” is approximately 800 pages including some 30% notes and appendices. It includes voluminous primary research conducted over thirty years and offers profound and compelling theses. He knows the contending arguments, he tries to treat those positions seriously and in their best light, and he refers readers back to detailed and specific sources so they can investigate for themselves. It is high quality and very principled scholarship.

Allen has also provided a very helpful Summary of the Argument of The Invention of the White Race

The new expanded 2012 Verso Books edition of The Invention of the White Race includes introductions to each volume, background on Allen and his work, internal study guides, and significantly expanded indexes (especially the index to vol. 2 on The Origin of Racial Oppression in Anglo-America).

Allen’s “Introduction” to Volume 1: Racial Oppression and Social Control discusses his work in relation to that of Carl Degler, Winthrop D. Jordan, Oscar and Mary Handlin, Eric Williams, Edmund S. Morgan, Timothy Breen, and others.

The following two reviews by Allen are particularly important --

1) Theodore William Allen, “Slavery, Racism, and Democracy," Review of Edmund S. Morgan, American Slavery, American Freedom: The Ordeal of Colonial Virginia (New York: W. W. Norton and Company, Inc., 1974). Monthly Review 29, no. 10 (March 1978): 57-63.
2) Theodore W. Allen, "On Roediger's Wages of Whiteness," Cultural Logic, Vol. 4, No. 2 (Spring 2001)

Strongly recommended for understanding the development of Allen’s thought is “The Developing Conjuncture and Some Insights from Hubert Harrison and Theodore W. Allen On the Centrality of the Fight Against White Supremacy,” in "Cultural Logic" (2010) available in pdf format at the top left HERE and also available at Cultural Logic (2010), especially pages 1-6, 8-12, 26, 30-113.

"The Developing Conjuncture . . ." offers some of Allen’s thoughts on work by labor and left historians and writers on history including Frederick Engels, Frederick A. Sorge, Frederick Jackson Turner, Richard T. Ely, Morris Hillquit, John R. Commons, Selig Perlman, Mary Ritter Beard, Charles A. Beard, William Z. Foster, W. E. B. Du Bois, Ulrich Bonnell Phillips, Lewis C. Gray, Roger W. Shugg, Hubert Harrison, David Roediger, Winthrop D. Jordan, Edmund S. Morgan, Eric Williams, C. L. R. James, Norman Ware, Herman Schlueter, Philip S. Foner, Harry Heywood, and “James S. Allen” [Sol Auerbach]. Of particular interest are Allen’s thoughts from his unpublished “Toward a Revolution in Labor History.”

A number of additional writings by and about Allen can be found HERE!

Three Upcoming Talks
On Hubert Harrison, Theodore W. Allen, and
The Invention of the White Race
Boston/Cambridge Mass – October 19-20, 2013

September 25, 2013

Tags: Hubert Harrison, Theodore W. Allen, The Invention of the White Race, The Origin of Racial Oppression in Anglo-America, Jeffrey B. Perry, Dudley Branch Library, South Asians for Global Justice, Umang Kumar, Mirna Lascano, Charlie Welch, Janet Buda, Tony Van Der Meer, Linda Jenkins, Mary Lynn Cramer, Center for Marxist Education, Joe Ramsey

Three Upcoming Talks – On Hubert Harrison, Theodore W. Allen – The Invention of the White Race -- Boston/Cambridge Mass – October 19-20, 2013

October 19, 2013
Saturday, 2 PM - 4:30 PM -- Theodore W. Allen's The Invention of the White Race (Verso Books) especially Volume 2 The Origin of Racial Oppression in Anglo-America will be discussed in a slide presentation/talk by Jeffrey B. Perry at the Dudley Branch Library 65 Warren Street, Roxbury, MA. Event sponsored by South Asians for Global Justice. Contact persons Umang Kumar, Mirna Lascano and Charlie Welch; Branch Librarian Janet Buda; opening presenter Tony Van Der Meer.

October 20, 2013
Sunday, 11 AM, Jeffrey B. Perry will discuss Theodore W. Allen's "The Invention of the White Race," at Community Church of Boston, 565 Boylston St., Boston, MA 02116. Contact persons Linda Jenkins and Mary Lynn Cramer.

October 20, 2013
Sunday, 5 PM, Jeffrey B. Perry will discuss "Hubert Harrison: The Voice of Harlem Radicalism and Theodore W. Allen's "The Invention of the White Race," at the Center for Marxist Education, 550 Massachusetts Ave (Central Square), Cambridge, MA 02116. Contact person Joe Ramsey.

"Hubert Harrison: 'The Father of Harlem Radicalism"
Two-Part Discussion
September 12 and 13, 2013
Jeffrey B. Perry and Utrice Leid
"Leid Stories" on the Progressive Radio Network

September 11, 2013

Tags: Hubert Harrison, The Father of Harlem Radicalism, Jeffrey B. Perry, Utrice Leid, Leid Stories, Progressive Radio Network<br> 1 PM Thurs and Fri September 12-13, 2013

September 12 and 13, 2013, Thursday and Friday, 1-2 p.m.

Jeffrey B. Perry discusses "Hubert Harrison: 'The Father of Harlem Radicalism" (2 parts) with host Utrice Leid on “Leid Stories” on the Progressive Radio Network. “

“Hubert Harrison: ‘The Father of Harlem Radicalism’”


St. Croix, Virgin Islands-born, Harlem-based, Hubert Harrison (1883-1927) was a brilliant writer, orator, editor, educator, critic, and political activist. Historian Joel A. Rogers in World’s Great Men of Color described him as “the foremost Afro-American intellect of his time” and the one with the sanest program. A. Philip Randolph, referring to a time when Harlem was recognized as the “the center of radical black thought,” called him “the father of Harlem radicalism.”

Harrison was the major radical influence on both the class-conscious Randolph and the race-conscious Garvey as well as on a generation of “New Negro” activists and “common people.” He is the only person in United States history to play leading roles in the largest class radical movement (socialism) and the largest race radical movement (the New Negro/Garvey movement) of his era. He is also a key link in the ideological unity of the two great trends of the Civil Rights/Black Liberation Struggle – the labor/civil rights trend associated with Randolph and Martin Luther King, Jr. and the race/nationalist trend associated with Garvey and Malcolm X.

Harrison’s intellectual achievements were similarly extraordinary. He authored two books The Negro and the Nation (1917) and When Africa Awakes: The Inside Story of the Stirrings and Strivings of the New Negro in the Western World (1920) and edited important publications including The Voice: A Newspaper for the New Negro (1917-1918), the New Negro (“intended as an organ of the international consciousness of the darker races—especially of the Negro race” in 1919), the Negro World (newspaper of Marcus Garvey’s Universal Negro Improvement Association in 1920), and The Voice of the Negro (the organ of the International Colored Unity League in 1927). He also delivered hundreds of indoor and outdoor talks and wrote hundreds of articles including 138 that appear in A Hubert Harrison Reader.

To Listen Online Click Here

For writings by and about Hubert Harrison Click Here

“Negro World” Editors
W. A. Domingo and William H. Ferris
Discuss Hubert Harrison’s Influence
on Marcus Garvey

September 11, 2013

Tags: Negro World, W. A. Domingo, William H. Ferris, Hubert Harrison, Marcus Garvey

“Negro World” Editors W. A. Domingo and William H. Ferris Discuss Hubert Harrison’s Influence on Marcus Garvey

Marcus Garvey’s boyhood associate, and the first editor of the Negro World, W. A. Domingo, said that “Garvey came at the psychological moment. There had been the East St. Louis riot, he visited the scene and then came back here. However, before him there was Hubert Harrison. He was a brilliant man, a great intellectual, a Socialist and highly respected. Garvey like the rest of us followed Hubert Harrison.”

William H. Ferris, assistant Negro World editor and assistant president general of the UNIA, maintained that Garvey “rapidly crystallized” Harrison’s ideas.

For more on Hubert Harrison: The Voice of Harlem Radicalism, 1883-1918 click here, here and here

Anselmo Jackson
Discusses Hubert Harrison’s Influence on Marcus Garvey

September 10, 2013

Tags: Anselmo Jackson, Hubert Harrison, radicalism, Marcus Garvey, The Voice, Liberty League, New Negro

Anselmo Jackson, a writer for both Hubert Harrison’s “Voice” and Marcus Garvey’s “Negro World,” writes that beginning in 1916,

“outdoors and indoors, Hubert Harrison was preaching an advanced type of radicalism with a view to impressing race consciousness and effecting racial solidarity among Negroes. The followers of Harrison, responding to his demand that a New Negro Manhood movement among Negroes be organized, formed the Liberty League fo[r] Negro-Americans, a short while prior to Garvey. . . . The . . . atmosphere was charged with Harrison’s propaganda; men and women of color thruout the United States and the West Indies donated their dollars and pledged their support to Harrison as they became members of the Liberty League.

Garvey publicly eulogized Harrison, joined the Liberty League and took a keen interest in its affairs. . . . Harrison rendered memorable educational and constructive community service to the Negroes of Harlem. It may be truly said that he was the forerunner of Garvey and contributed largely to the success of the latter by preparing the minds of Negroes through his lectures, thereby molding and developing a new temper among Negroes which undoubtedly made the task of the Jamaican much easier than it otherwise would have been.”

For more on Hubert Harrison: The Voice of Harlem Radicalism, 1883-1918 click here, here and here

Harlem Activist Hodge Kirnon
on the Radicalism of
Hubert Harrison and “The Voice” [c. 1917-1919]

September 10, 2013

Tags: Hodge Kirnon Radicalism, Hubert Harrison, The Voice, Harlem, Montserrat, Hubert Harrison: The Voice of Harlem Radicalism, 1883-1918

Harlem Activist Hodge Kirnon
on the Radicalism of
Hubert Harrison and “The Voice” [c. 1917-1919]

[“The Voice”] “really crystallized the radicalism of the Negro in New York and its environs.” It exerted “a tremendous influence in inspiring the people with the highest racial ideals and aspirations” and inculcated “into every Negro a sense of race pride and determination” that was “without parallel in the history of the race.”

Harrison (who lived on Harlem’s most densely populated block) “lived with and amongst his people; not on the fringes of their social life” and he “taught the masses” and “drew much of his inspiration from them.” Harrison was “the first Negro whose radicalism was comprehensive enough to include racial¬ism, politics, theological criticism, sociology and education in a thorough-going and scientific manner.”

For more on Hubert Harrison: The Voice of Harlem Radicalism, 1883-1918 click here, here and here

The Montserrat-born Hodge Kirnon was a freethinker, editor of the The Promoter, and a race- and class-conscious community activist
For a striking photo of Hodge Kirnon CLICK HERE

Theodore W. Allen’s Major Thesis
in The Invention of the White Race

September 3, 2013

Tags: Theodore W. Allen, Major Thesis, The Invention of the White Race. white race, ruling class social control formation, Bcon's Reellion, racial privileges

Theodore W. Allen’s probing research and analysis led him to offer his major thesis -- that the “white race” was invented in the late 17th/early 18th century as a ruling class social control formation in response to labor solidarity as manifested in the latter (civil war) stages of Bacon's Rebellion (1676-77). To this he adds two important corollaries: 1) that the ruling elite deliberately instituted a system of racial privileges to define and maintain the “white race” as a ruling-class social control formation and to establish a system of racial slavery and racial oppression, and 2) that the consequence was not only ruinous to the interests of African-Americans, but was also “disastrous” for European-American workers.
For more on Theodore W. Allen's The Invention of the White Race CLICK HERE

Hubert Harrison
A Radical Internationalist

September 3, 2013

Tags: Hubert Harrison, A Radical Internationalist, class consciousness, race consciousness, Socialist Party, Garvey Movement, Negro World, A. Philip Randolph, Chandler Owen, Cyril Briggs, Richard B. Moore, Marcus Garvey.

Hubert Harrison was a “radical internationalist” who, more than any other political leader of his era, combined class consciousness and (anti-white supremacist) race consciousness in a coherent political radicalism. He opposed white supremacy, capitalism and imperialism and maintained that white supremacy was central to capitalist rule in the U.S., that racism and racist practices were not in “white” workers class interests, and that “Negroes” must not wait on white-Americans while struggling to shape their future. This unique message, repeatedly delivered to the masses, enabled him to play signal roles in the development of what were up to that time, the largest class radical movement (socialism) and the largest race radical movement (the “New Negro”/Garvey movement) in United States history. He served as the foremost Black organizer, agitator, and theoretician in the Socialist Party (SP) of New York; as the founder and leading figure of the militant, WWI-era “New Negro” movement; and as the editor of the Negro World and principal radical influence on the Garvey movement during its radical high point in 1920. Harrison’s views on race and class profoundly influenced a generation of “New Negro” militants including the class radical socialists A. Philip Randolph and Chandler Owen, the future communists Cyril Briggs and Richard B. Moore, and the race radical Marcus Garvey.

For more information on Hubert Harrison CLICK HERE

"Theodore W. Allen’s The Invention of the White Race
Presents a Full-Scale Challenge to
'The Great White Assumption'”

September 2, 2013

Tags: Theodore W. Allen, The Invention of the White Race, The Great White Assumption, white identity, class struggle, radical history, equalitarian motif






Theodore W. Allen’s The Invention of the White Race is one of the twentieth-century’s major contributions to historical understanding. This extraordinary two-volume work, first published in 1994 and 1997, presents a full-scale challenge to what Allen refers to as “The Great White Assumption” -- the unquestioning acceptance of the “white race” and “white” identity as skin color-based and natural attributes rather than as social and political constructions. It’s thesis on the origin and nature of the so-called “white race” contains the root of a new and radical approach to United States history, one that challenges dominant narratives taught in schools, colleges, universities, and through the media. With its “equalitarian motif” and emphasis on the “class struggle” dimension of history it speaks to people desiring and struggling for change world-wide and its influence can be expected to continue to grow in the twenty-first century.

For more on Theodore W. Allen's The Invention of the White Race CLICK HERE

J. A. Rogers on Hubert Harrison

September 2, 2013

Tags: J. A. Rogers, Hubert Harrison, World’s Great Men of Color






[Hubert] Harrison was not only perhaps the foremost Afro-American intellect of his time, but one of America’s greatest minds. No one worked more seriously and indefatigably to enlighten his fellow-men; none of the Afro-American leaders of his time had a saner and more effective program -- but others, unquestionably his inferiors, received the recognition that was his due. Even today but a very small proportion of the Negro intelligentsia has ever heard of him.
J. A. ROGERS
historian, in World’s Great Men of Color, 1947


For more on Hubert Harrison CLICK HERE

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

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