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Jeffrey B. Perry Blog

"Rediscovering Hubert Harrison: Revolutionary Socialism and Anti-White-Supremacy for Twenty-First Century America" a review by Charles L. Lumpkins of "Hubert Harrison: The Voice of Harlem Radicalism, 1883-1918" from "Socialism and Democracy," March 2011.

"A free thinking race conscious and class-conscious black working class socialist, Hubert Harrison (1883–1927) exerted profound influence among leading intellectual activists in the civil rights, New Negro, Black Nationalist, labor, and socialist movements mainly in Harlem, New York City. Harrison was a dynamic speaker, prolific writer, labor and community organizer, bibliophile, street corner orator, educator, newspaper publisher, advocate of women’s rights, and propagandist. From the late 1900s into the 1920s, he captured the attention of, and in some cases interacted with, numerous prominent individuals including Booker T. Washington, W.E.B. Du Bois, Eugene Debs, Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, “Big Bill” Haywood, Chandler Owen, Cyril V. Briggs, Marcus Garvey, and Henry Miller. He earned the sobriquet “Father of Harlem Radicalism” from labor leader and socialist Asa Philip Randolph, and he received praise from Joel A. Rogers who wrote that Harrison was “the foremost Afro-American intellect of his time” and that “none of the Afro-American leaders of his time had a saner and more effective program.” Harrison ranked high among black intellectuals, grappling to understand the workings of racism and building movements to end white supremacy within both the largest class radical movement (the Socialist Party) and, later, the largest race radical New Negro movement (the Universal Negro Improvement Association).

Harrison is the central subject in the first book of a meticulously documented and critically detailed two volume biography by independent scholar and post office labor union activist, now retired, Jeffrey B. Perry, . . . . Perry is well-positioned to write the biography because he preserved and inventoried the Hubert. H. Harrison Papers at Columbia University, and he edited "A Hubert Harrison Reader" (Wesleyan University Press, 2001). He can be proud to have authored the first definitive biography of Harrison and an established point of reference for interested laypersons and scholars for decades to come. . . ." -- Charles L. Lumpkins, Pennsylvania State University, in "Socialism and Democracy," March 2011
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