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Hubert Harrison
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Jeffrey B. Perry Blog

Playwright David Edgecombe and Biographer Jeffrey B. Perry
Guests of host Etienne A. Gibbs
on "A Panel of Two Authors Shining the Spotlight on Hubert Harrison"

February 24, 2015

Tags: David Edgecombe, Jeffrey B. Perry, Etienne A. Gibbs, Hubert Harrison, St. Croix, St. Thomas, Virgin Islands

On Monday, March 16, 2015 at 1:00 pm (EDT, AST) Playwright David Edgecombe and biographer Jeffrey B. Perry are guests of host Etienne A. Gibbs on "A Panel of Two Authors Shining the Spotlight on Hubert Harrison" on Blog Talk Radio from St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands.
The Virgin Islands Literary Festival and Book Fair will feature several events highlighting the historic Crucian writer and activist, Hubert Harrison, the weekend of March 26-29. Saturday evening, March 28th, there will be a performance of David Edgecombe's play “Hubert Harrison”. Today we meet two gentlemen who diligently worked to bring the biography of a forgotten Virgin Islander to the forefront. One, an author, the other, a playwright, but they both wrote about Crucian-born Hubert Harrison, David Edgecombe, writer, director, instructor, and playwright has worked at the University of the Virgin Islands from 1990 to present. In 1992, he became director of the Reichhold Center for the Arts. He's "internationally known for several plays, including "Strong Currents" and "Coming Home to Roost". Upon returning to the Islands, David joined the faculty at the University of the Virgin Islands and became their artist-in-residence, premièring his play, "Heaven". Jeffrey B. Perry, formally educated at Princeton, Harvard, Rutgers, and Columbia, preserved and inventoried the "Hubert H. Harrison Papers" and helped to place them at the Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University and to develop the "Hubert H. Harrison Papers, 1893-1927: Finding Aid." He is the editor of A Hubert Harrison Reader (Wesleyan University Press, 2001) and the forthcoming "Writings of Hubert Harrison." Jeffrey will deliver a keynote address and a presentation discussing his work uncovering Harrison's writings and documenting his story and work in Perry's book, “Hubert Harrison: The Voice of Harlem Radicalism, 1883-1918” (Columbia University Press).
To listen to the show CLICK HERE

Theodore W. Allen Shied Away From The Term "whiteness"

February 23, 2015

Tags: Theodore W. Allen, Ted Allen, whiteness, #whiteness, #whiteprivilege, #whiteskinprivilege, white race, white privilege, white race identity problem, white skin privilege




Theodore W. Allen (1919-2005) did pioneering work on “white privilege” and “white skin privilege” from the mid-1960s until his death in 2005. He shied away from the term “whiteness.” As he explained:


“. . . it’s an abstract noun, it’s an abstraction, it’s an attribute of some people, it’s not the role they play. And the white race is an actual objective thing. It’s not anthropologic, it’s a historically developed identity of European Americans and Anglo-Americans and so it has to be dealt with. It functions . . . in this history of ours and it has to be recognized as such . . . to slough it off under the heading of ‘whiteness,’ to me seems to get away from the basic white race identity problem.”



The fullest treatment of the development of Theodore W. Allen’s work can be found in “The Developing Conjuncture and Some Insights From Hubert Harrison and Theodore W. Allen on the Centrality of the Fight Against White Supremacy,” available in PDF format HERE (at the top left) and HERE.

For articles, audios, and videos by and about Theodore W. Allen CLICK HERE.

For a video on Theodore W. Allen's "The Invention of the White Race" Click Here

For information on Theodore W. Allen’s Vol. II: "The Origin of Racial Oppression in Anglo America" (including comments from scholars and activists) published by Verso Books with a new, internal study guide CLICK HERE.

For information on Theodore W. Allen’s Vol. I: “Racial Oppression and Social Control" (including comments from scholars and activists) published by Verso Books with a new, internal study-guide CLICK HERE.

For Sean Ahern’s review of Theodore W. Allen’s “The Invention of the White Race” (Verso Books) in "Black Commentator" CLICK HERE.

For another video “On Theodore W. Allen, ‘The Invention of the White Race,’ and White Supremacy in U.S. Labor History” – An Interview with Jeffrey B. Perry at the Labor and Working Class History Association Conference in New York City CLICK HERE.

Jeffrey B. Perry
Open Letter in Response to
“Challenging White Privilege From the Inside” by Kyle Spencer
in the "New York Times," February 20, 2015

February 22, 2015

Tags: Jeffrey B. Perry, Open Letter, Challenging White Privilege From the Inside, Kyle Spencer, white skin privilege, New York Times, SDS, Students for a Democratic Society, Thomas R. Brooks, The New Left is Showing its Age, The Invention of the White Race, White Privilege, white race identity problem



Unfortunately, the “New York Times” article on “Challenging White Privilege From the Inside” (February 20, 2015) totally ignores the seminal contributions of Theodore W. Allen (1919-2005) who did pioneering work on “white privilege” and “white skin privilege” from the mid-1960s until his death in 2005.

Also ignored is the fact that by June 15, 1969, Allen’s work, and that of others, had impacted Students for a Democratic Society so much that the organization’s national office was calling "for an all-out fight against 'white skin privileges.'” (Thomas R. Brooks, "The New Left is Showing Its Age," “New York Times,” June 15, 1969, p. 20.)

Allen’s important analysis of “white privilege,” which was developed into his two-volume “classic” “The Invention of the White Race,” should be of interest to “Times” readers.

After pointing out that the word “white” as a symbol of social status did not appear in any Virginia Colonial Records until 1691 and demonstrating that the “white race,” as we know it, did not exist in early 17th Century Virginia (the pattern-setting plantation colony), Allen develops the thesis that the “white race” was invented as a ruling class social control formation in response to labor solidarity as manifested in the later, civil war stages of Bacon's Rebellion (1676-77).

To this he adds two important corollaries: 1) the ruling elite, in its own class interest, deliberately instituted a system of “white race” privileges to define and maintain the “white race” and to establish a system of racial oppression; and 2) the consequences were not only ruinous to the interests of African-Americans, they were also “disastrous” for European-American workers, whose class interests differed fundamentally from those of the ruling elite. He describes these “white privileges” as a “poison bait” (like a shot of heroin) for European-American workers.

Allen’s work also challenges “The Great White Assumption” – “the unquestioning, indeed unthinking acceptance of the ‘white’ identity of European-Americans of all classes as a natural attribute rather than a social construct.”

In addition, Allen shied away from the term “whiteness.” As he explained, “it’s an abstract noun, it’s an abstraction, it’s an attribute of some people, it’s not the role they play. And the white race is an actual objective thing. It’s not anthropologic, it’s a historically developed identity of European Americans and Anglo-Americans and so it has to be dealt with. It functions . . . in this history of ours and it has to be recognized as such . . . to slough it off under the heading of ‘whiteness,’ to me seems to get away from the basic white race identity problem.”

Theodore W. Allen’s work is essential for understanding “white privilege” and the “white race.”

Here is a video on Allen’s “The Invention of the White Race” and the development of the system of “white privileges”




The fullest treatment of the development of Theodore W. Allen’s work can be found in “The Developing Conjuncture and Some Insights From Hubert Harrison and Theodore W. Allen on the Centrality of the Fight Against White Supremacy,” available in PDF format HERE (at the top left) and HERE.

For information on Theodore W. Allen’s Vol. II: "The Origin of Racial Oppression in Anglo America" (including comments from scholars and activists) published by Verso Books with a new, internal study guide CLICK HERE.

For information on Theodore W. Allen’s Vol. I: “Racial Oppression and Social Control" (including comments from scholars and activists) published by Verso Books with a new, internal study-guide CLICK HERE.

For articles, audios, and videos by and about Theodore W. Allen CLICK HERE.

For Sean Ahern’s review of Theodore W. Allen’s “The Invention of the White Race” (Verso Books) in "Black Commentator" CLICK HERE.

For another video “On Theodore W. Allen, ‘The Invention of the White Race,’ and White Supremacy in U.S. Labor History” – An Interview with Jeffrey B. Perry at the Labor and Working Class History Association Conference in New York City CLICK HERE.

Hubert Harrison: Brilliant Harlem Intellectual/Activist
and Founder of the "New Negro Movement"
Jeffrey B. Perry
Tuesday, Feb. 24, 2015, 7 pm
Bogota Public Library
375 Larch Ave., Bogota, NJ

February 22, 2015

Tags: Hubert Harrison, Harlem, Intellectual, Activist, Founder, New Negro Movement, Black History Month, Jeffrey B. Perry, Bogota Borough Public Library, Radwa Ali

February 24, 2015
Tuesday, 7:00 pm
"Hubert Harrison: Brilliant Harlem Intellectual/Activist and Founder of the 'New Negro Movement'"
Slide presentation/talk by Jeffrey B. Perry
Bogota Borough Public Library
375 Larch Ave.
Bogota, NJ, 07063
Contact person Radwa Ali, Branch Director, 201-488-7185.

Hubert Harrison to be Discussed
on "Chatting with Dr. Leonard Richardson"
February 7, 2015, Saturday 11 AM EST

February 6, 2015

Tags: Hubert Harrison, Hubert Harrison: The Voice of Harlem Radicalism, Jeffrey B. Perry, Chatting with Dr. Leonard Richardson, blogtalkradio.com

February 7, 2015
Saturday 11 AM AST (10 AM EST), Hubert Harrison to be discussed on "Chatting with Dr. Leonard Richardson" To listen CLICK HERE The call-in number is 347-237-4374.

White Supremacy and the Breech Birth of the Nation
Jeffrey B. Perry Discusses Work of Theodore W. Allen
and The Invention of the White Race
with Utrice Leid on Leid Stories

February 2, 2015

Tags: White Supremacy Breech Birth of the Nation, podcast, Jeffrey B. Perry, Theodore W. Allen, The Invention of the White Race, Utrice Leid, LeidStories, Leid Stories, Progressiveradionetwork, progressive radio network, Hubert Harrison

Leid Stories - 02.02.15

Feb 2nd, 2015 by progressiveradionetwork

White Supremacy and the Breech Birth of the Nation

Introduction by Utrice Leid


In 1619, a year before the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Harbor, Mass., 20 Africans captured by Dutchmen from a Spanish slave ship were sold to colonists at Jamestown, Va. There were various classes of English, Scottish, Irish and other Europeans in Jamestown, but no “white” people, says historian Theodore Allen, whose works, particularly his groundbreaking The Invention of the White Race, are considered seminal to the issue of racism and white supremacy in America. The term “white” appeared for the first time in colonial records 60 years later, Allen writes.

How and why was “whiteness” created? Why the need for classification based on skin color? Why have racism and white supremacy endured?

Our guest, Dr. Jeffrey Perry—an independent, working-class scholar whose work focuses on the role of white supremacy as a retardant to progressive social change—discusses Allen’s and his own work in this area.

Perry preserved and inventoried The Theodore W. Allen Papers, edited and introduced Allen's Class Struggle and the Origin of Racial Slavery: The Invention of the White Race, and has written introductions and appendices for the new edition of Allen’s two-volume The Invention of the White Race.

He also preserved and inventoried the "Hubert H. Harrison Papers" now at Columbia University, edited A Hubert Harrison Reader, and authored Hubert Harrison:The Voice of Harlem Radicalism, 1883-1918.

Jeffrey B. Perry discusses Theodore W. Allen’s seminal work “The Invention of the White Race” with host Utrice Leid on “Leid Stories” on the Progressive Radio Network. “Leid Stories” seeks to provide important context for issues confronting us today, particularly issues of race and class, and it airs Monday – Friday from 1 to 2 p.m.

Listen to the Podcast Here

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

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