instagram pinterest linkedin facebook twitter goodreads facebook circle twitter circle linkedin circle instagram circle goodreads circle pinterest circle

Jeffrey B. Perry Blog

Video on The Invention of the White Race by Theodore W. Allen Just Passed 35,000-Viewers MarkOffers Crucial Understanding for Struggle TodayPlease View and Share




This Video on The Invention of the White Race
by Theodore W. Allen
Just Passed the 35,000-Viewers Mark on YouTube
Please take time to view it and share it. Allen’s work is extremely important!

The slide presentation/talk opens with some insights from Hubert Harrison, “The Father of Harlem Radicalism.” Harrison and Allen are two of the most important writers and thinkers on "race" and class in the twentieth century and people are strongly encouraged to view and share this video and to discuss their work with others.

For information on Vol. II: "The Origin of Racial Oppression in Anglo America" (including comments from scholars and activists) published by Verso Books CLICK HERE

For a super special discount offer from Verso Books for Volume 2: The Origin of Racial Oppression in Anglo-America CLICK HERE

For information on Vol. I: Racial Oppression and Social Control" (including comments from scholars and activists) published by Verso Books CLICK HERE

For reader's comments, an introduction, the super special Verso Books discount offer, and a link to Vol. 1: Racial Oppression and Social Control CLICK HERE

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

For comments from scholars and activists on "Hubert Harrison: The Voice of Harlem Radicalism, 1883-1918" (Columbia University Press) CLICK HERE and CLICK HERE
For the Columbia University Press webpage on Hubert Harrison see CLICK HERE
For a video of a Slide Presentation/Talk on Hubert Harrison CLICK HERE
For articles, audios, and videos by and about Hubert Harrison CLICK HERE

The article “The Developing Conjuncture and Some Insights From Hubert Harrison and Theodore W. Allen on the Centrality of the Fight Against White Supremacy,” by Jeffrey B. Perry, available at the top left HERE or at this site HERE discusses their work in detail.
 Read More 
Be the first to comment

This Video on The Invention of the White Race by Theodore W. Allen Just Passed the 30,000-Viewers Mark on YouTube Allen's Work is of Great Importance




This Video on The Invention of the White Race
by Theodore W. Allen
Just Passed the 30,000-Viewers Mark on YouTube


The slide presentation/talk opens with some insights from Hubert Harrison, “The Father of Harlem Radicalism.” Harrison and Allen are two of the most important writers and thinkers on "race" and class in the twentieth century and people are strongly encouraged to view and share this video and to discuss their work with others.

For information on Vol. II: "The Origin of Racial Oppression in Anglo America" (including comments from scholars and activists) published by Verso Books CLICK HERE
For information on Vol. I: Racial Oppression and Social Control" (including comments from scholars and activists) published by Verso Books CLICK HERE
For articles, audios, and videos by and about Theodore W. Allen CLICK HERE

For comments from scholars and activists on "Hubert Harrison: The Voice of Harlem Radicalism, 1883-1918" (Columbia University Press) CLICK HERE and CLICK HERE
For the Columbia University Press webpage on Hubert Harrison see CLICK HERE
For a video of a Slide Presentation/Talk on Hubert Harrison CLICK HERE
For articles, audios, and videos by and about Hubert Harrison CLICK HERE

The article “The Developing Conjuncture and Some Insights From Hubert Harrison and Theodore W. Allen on the Centrality of the Fight Against White Supremacy,” by Jeffrey B. Perry, HERE discusses their work in detail.
 Read More 
Be the first to comment

"Theodore W. Allen, 'White Skin Privilege,' 'The Invention of the White Race,' and the Centrality of the Struggle Against White Supremacy by Jeffrey B. Perry

"Theodore W. Allen, 'White Skin Privilege,' 'The Invention of the White Race,'
and the Centrality of the Struggle Against White Supremacy"
by Jeffrey B. Perry
Slide Presentation/Talk at The Commons, Brooklyn NY, August 16, 2014




Theodore William Allen (1919-2005), was an anti-white-supremacist, proletarian intellectual and an autodidact who pioneered his "white skin privilege" analysis in 1965, authored Class Struggle and the Origin of Racial Slavery: The Invention of the White Race, in 1975, and authored the two-volume The Invention of the White Race, (2 vols., Verso Books, 1994, 1997, new edition 2012) and "Summary of the Argument of The Invention of the White Race" (1978).

Jeffrey B. Perry is preserving and inventorying the Theodore W. Allen Papers. He edited and introduced Allen’s Class Struggle and Racial Slavery: The Invention of the White Race (1975; Center for the Study of Working Class Life, State University of New York, Stony Brook, 2006) and he has authored numerous other pieces on Allen including "The Developing Conjuncture and Some Insights From Hubert Harrison and Theodore W. Allen on the Centrality of the Fight Against White Supremacy"(Cultural Logic, July 2010). Most recently he contributed new introductions, back matter, internal study guides, and expanded indexes for the new (Verso Books, November 2012) expanded edition of Allen's two-volume The Invention of the White Race. (Vol. 1: Racial Oppression and Social Control and Vol. 2: The Origin of Racial Oppression in Anglo-America.)

See the following links –

For information on Theodore W. Allen's "The Invention of the White Race" Vol 1: Racial Oppression and Social Control (Verso Books) CLICK HERE and for Vol. 2: The Origin of Racial Oppression in Anglo-America CLICK HERE

For additional writings by and about Theodore W. Allen CLICK HERE

For a video presentation on Theodore W. Allen's "The Invention of the White Race," which draws insights from the life and work of Hubert Harrison CLICK HERE

For key insights from Theodore W. Allen on U.S. Labor History CLICK HERE

Go to the following link to read 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"

For Videos of the Slide Presentation/Talks in the series “Hubert Harrison, Theodore W. Allen, and the Centrality of the Struggle Against White Supremacy” by Jeffrey B. Perry see

1. "Hubert Harrison, Theodore W. Allen, and the Centrality of the Struggle Against White Supremacy," by Jeffrey B. Perry, Slide Presentation/Talk at The Commons, Brooklyn NY, July 26, 2014

2. “Hubert Harrison, St. Croix, Early Years in New York, and Black Working Class Intellectual Circles (1883-1910)," by Jeffrey B. Perry, Slide Presentation/Talk at The Commons, Brooklyn NY, August 2, 2014

3. “Hubert Harrison, the Socialist Party, the Founding of the 'New Negro Movement,' and the Liberty Congress (1911-1918)," by Jeffrey B. Perry, Slide Presentation/Talk at The Commons, Brooklyn NY, August 9, 2014

4. “Theodore W. Allen, 'White Skin Privilege,' 'The Invention of the White Race,' and the Centrality of the Struggle Against White Supremacy," [Part 1] by Jeffrey B. Perry, Slide Presentation/Talk at The Commons, Brooklyn NY, August 16, 2014

5. “Theodore W. Allen, 'White Skin Privilege,' 'The Invention of the White Race,' and the Centrality of the Struggle Against White Supremacy," [Part 2] by Jeffrey B. Perry, Slide Presentation/Talk at The Commons, Brooklyn NY, September 6, 2014
 Read More 
Be the first to comment

"Theodore W. Allen’s Work on ‘White Skin Privilege’ and ‘The Invention of the White Race” Slide Presentation/Talk by Jeffrey B. Perry Saturday, August 16, 10 AM The Commons

"Theodore W. Allen’s Work
on ‘White Skin Privilege’ and ‘The Invention of the White Race”
August 16, 2014
The Commons, Brooklyn




"Theodore W. Allen’s Work on ‘White Skin Privilege’ and ‘The Invention of the White Race”
Slide Presentation/Talk by Jeffrey B. Perry

Saturday, August 16, 2014
10:00 am --12 Noon
The Commons
388 Atlantic Avenue (between Hoyt and Bond)
Brooklyn, New York, NY, 11217

Mark the Date! Share the Information!

This course will focus on the relevance today of important insights from Theodore W. Allen (1919-2005) one of the twentieth century's most important writers on race and class.

The Brooklyn-based Theodore W. Allen originated his "white skin privilege" analysis in 1965, authored Class Struggle and the Origin of Racial Slavery: The Invention of the White Race, in 1975, and authored the two-volume The Invention of the White Race (1994, 1997; Verso Books: New Expanded Edition, 2012).

Jeffrey B. Perry is preserving and inventorying the Theodore W. Allen Papers. He edited and introduced Allen’s Class Struggle and Racial Slavery: The Invention of the White Race (1975; Center for the Study of Working Class Life, State University of New York, Stony Brook, 2006) and he has authored numerous other pieces on Allen including "The Developing Conjuncture and Some Insights From Hubert Harrison and Theodore W. Allen on the Centrality of the Fight Against White Supremacy"(Cultural Logic, July 2010). Most recently he contributed new introductions, back matter, internal study guides, and expanded indexes for the new (Verso Books, November 2012) expanded edition of Allen's two-volume The Invention of the White Race. (Vol. 1: Racial Oppression and Social Control and Vol. 2: The Origin of Racial Oppression in Anglo-America.)

See the following links –

For information on Theodore W. Allen's "The Invention of the White Race" (Verso Books) CLICK HERE

For additional writings by and about Theodore W. Allen CLICK HERE

For a video presentation on Theodore W. Allen's "The Invention of the White Race," which draws insights from the life and work of Hubert Harrison CLICK HERE

For key insights from Theodore W. Allen on U.S. Labor History CLICK HERE

Go to the following link to read 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"

 Read More 
Be the first to comment

“Hubert Harrison, Theodore W. Allen, and the Centrality of the Struggle Against White Supremacy" by Jeffrey B. Perry (Introduction)

“Hubert Harrison, Theodore W. Allen,
and the Centrality of the Struggle Against White Supremacy"
by Jeffrey B. Perry (Introduction)




“Hubert Harrison, Theodore W. Allen, and the Centrality of the Struggle Against White Supremacy” Introduction to 5-Session Class by Jeffrey B. Perry
July 26, 2014
at The Commons in Brooklyn, NY


This course focuses on the relevance today of important insights from Hubert H. Harrison (1883-1927) and Theodore W. Allen (1919-2005), two of the twentieth century's most important writers on race and class. The St. Croix, Virgin Island-born, Harlem-based Harrison was the leading Black activist and theoretician in the Socialist Party; a brilliant writer, orator, and editor; the founder of the "New Negro Movement," the major radical influence on A. Philip Randolph and Marcus Garvey, and a self-described "radical internationalist." He is known as "The Father of Harlem Radicalism."

Theodore William Allen (1919-2005), was an anti-white-supremacist, proletarian intellectual and an autodidact who pioneered his "white skin privilege" analysis in 1965, authored Class Struggle and the Origin of Racial Slavery: The Invention of the White Race, in 1975, and authored the two-volume The Invention of the White Race, (2 vols., Verso Books, 1994, 1997, new edition 2012) and "Summary of the Argument of The Invention of the White Race" (1978).

Jeffrey B. Perry edited “A Hubert Harrison Reader” (Wesleyan University Press, 2001) and authored “Hubert Harrison: The Voice of Harlem Radicalism, 1883-1918” (Columbia University Press, 2008). Perry also contributed new front and back matter to the new edition of Allen's “The Invention of the White Race” and he authored "The Developing Conjuncture and Some Insights From Hubert Harrison and Theodore W. Allen on the Centrality of the Fight Against White Supremacy" (“Cultural Logic,” 2010). He is currently working on a new edition of "When Africa Awakes" by Hubert Harrison for Diasporic Africa Press and Vol. 2 of the Hubert Harrison biography.

Dr. Perry is also preserving and inventorying the Theodore W. Allen Papers. He edited and introduced Allen’s Class Struggle and Racial Slavery: The Invention of the White Race (1975; Center for the Study of Working Class Life, State University of New York, Stony Brook, 2006) and he has authored numerous other pieces on Allen including "The Developing Conjuncture and Some Insights From Hubert Harrison and Theodore W. Allen on the Centrality of the Fight Against White Supremacy"(Cultural Logic, July 2010). Most recently he contributed new introductions, back matter, internal study guides, and expanded indexes for the new (Verso Books, November 2012) expanded edition of Allen's two-volume The Invention of the White Race. (Vol. 1: Racial Oppression and Social Control and Vol. 2: The Origin of Racial Oppression in Anglo-America.)

For the article “The Developing Conjuncture and Some Insights From Hubert Harrison and Theodore W. Allen on the Centrality of the Fight Against White Supremacy,” by Jeffrey B. Perry, CLICK HERE

For information on Hubert Harrison --
CLICK HERE for reviews of "Hubert Harrison: The Voice of Harlem Radicalism, 1883-1918"
and CLICK HERE for information on "A Hubert Harrison Reader"
and CLICK HERE for writings, audio, and video abour Hubert Harrison

For a video of a Slide Presentation/Talk on Hubert Harrison CLICK HERE

For a Slide Presentation/Talk on Theodore W. Allen’s “The Invention of the White Race” CLICK HERE

Also see the following links –

For information on Theodore W. Allen's "The Invention of the White Race" Vol 1: Racial Oppression and Social Control (Verso Books) CLICK HERE and for Vol. 2: The Origin of Racial Oppression in Anglo-America CLICK HERE

For additional writings by and about Theodore W. Allen CLICK HERE

For a video presentation on Theodore W. Allen's "The Invention of the White Race," which draws insights from the life and work of Hubert Harrison CLICK HERE

For key insights from Theodore W. Allen on U.S. Labor History CLICK HERE

Go to the following link to read 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"

For information on Jeffrey B. Perry CLICK HERE

For Videos of the Slide Presentation/Talks in the series “Hubert Harrison, Theodore W. Allen, and the Centrality of the Struggle Against White Supremacy” by Jeffrey B. Perry see


1. "Hubert Harrison, Theodore W. Allen, and the Centrality of the Struggle Against White Supremacy," by Jeffrey B. Perry, Slide Presentation/Talk at The Commons, Brooklyn NY, July 26, 2014

2. “Hubert Harrison, St. Croix, Early Years in New York, and Black Working Class Intellectual Circles (1883-1910)," by Jeffrey B. Perry, Slide Presentation/Talk at The Commons, Brooklyn NY, August 2, 2014

3. “Hubert Harrison, the Socialist Party, the Founding of the 'New Negro Movement,' and the Liberty Congress (1911-1918)," by Jeffrey B. Perry, Slide Presentation/Talk at The Commons, Brooklyn NY, August 9, 2014

4. “Theodore W. Allen, 'White Skin Privilege,' 'The Invention of the White Race,' and the Centrality of the Struggle Against White Supremacy,"[Part 1] by Jeffrey B. Perry, Slide Presentation/Talk at The Commons, Brooklyn NY, August 16, 2014

5. “Theodore W. Allen, 'White Skin Privilege,' 'The Invention of the White Race,' and the Centrality of the Struggle Against White Supremacy," [Part 2] by Jeffrey B. Perry, Slide Presentation/Talk at The Commons, Brooklyn NY, September 6, 2014
 Read More 
Be the first to comment

5-Session Course - “Hubert Harrison, Theodore W. Allen, and the Centrality of the Struggle Against White Supremacy"



“Hubert Harrison, Theodore W. Allen, and the Centrality of the Struggle Against White Supremacy"

5-SESSION CLASS BEGINS Saturday, July 26, 2014, 10:00 am --12 Noon
Classes continue on August 2, 9, 16, 30 at 10 am
The Commons
388 Atlantic Avenue (between Hoyt and Bond)
Brooklyn, New York, NY, 11217

Mark the Dates! Share the Information!

This course will focus on the relevance today of important insights from Hubert H. Harrison (1883-1927) and Theodore W. Allen (1919-2005), two of the twentieth century's most important writers on race and class.

The St. Croix, Virgin Island-born, Harlem-based Harrison was the leading Black activist and theoretician in the Socialist Party; a brilliant writer, orator, and editor; the founder of the "New Negro Movement," the major radical influence on A. Philip Randolph and Marcus Garvey, and a self-described "radical internationalist." He is known as "The Father of Harlem Radicalism."

The Brooklyn-based Allen originated his "white skin privilege" analysis in 1965, authored Class Struggle and the Origin of Racial Slavery: The Invention of the White Race, in 1975, and authored the two-volume The Invention of the White Race (1994, 1997; Verso Books: New Expanded Edition, 2012).

Jeffrey B. Perry edited A Hubert Harrison Reader (Wesleyan University Press, 2001) and authored Hubert Harrison: The Voice of Harlem Radicalism, 1883-1918 (Columbia University Press, 2008). Perry also contributed new front and back matter to the new edition of Allen's The Invention of the White Race and he authored "The Developing Conjuncture and Some Insights From Hubert Harrison and Theodore W. Allen on the Centrality of the Fight Against White Supremacy" (Cultural Logic, 2010)

Saturday morning at 10:00 AM to 12 noon
5-Session Course at The Commons in Brooklyn
Session 1 -- July 26, 2014, 10 am
Class continues on August 2, 9, 16, and September 6 at 10 am
The Commons
388 Atlantic Avenue (between Hoyt and Bond)
Brooklyn, New York, NY, 11217


On this topic people may be interested in the following links --

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"

A video of a Slide Presentation/Talk on Hubert Harrison

A video of a Slide Presentation/Talk on Theodore W. Allen’s The Invention of the White Race

For information on Hubert Harrison --
CLICK HERE for reviews of "Hubert Harrison: The Voice of Harlem Radicalism, 1883-1918"
and CLICK HERE for information on "A Hubert Harrison Reader"
and CLICK HERE for writings, audio, and video abour Hubert Harrison

For information on Theodore W. Allen's "The Invention of the White Race" (Verso Books) CLICK HERE

For additional writings by and about Theodore W. Allen CLICK HERE

For key insights from Theodore W. Allen on U.S. Labor History CLICK HERE


 Read More 
Be the first to comment

Cornel West on Hubert Harrison, Thomas Paine, and Jeffrey B. Perry Left Forum, 2014




Cornel West discusses Hubert Harrison, Thomas Paine, and Jeffrey B. Perry (author of "Hubert Harrison: The Voice of Harlem Radicalism, 1883-1918" (Columbia University Press) at the Left Forum, June 3, 2014, in New York City. The panel was chaired by Laura Flanders and also included Chris Hedges and Richard D. Wolff.

Cornel West on Hubert Harrison, Thomas Paine, and Jeffrey B. Perry


For information on “Hubert Harrison: The Voice of Harlem Radicalism, 1883-1918” (Columbia University Press) CLICK HERE

For writings by and about Hubert Harrison CLICK HERE

For a video presentation on Hubert Harrison, "The Father of Harlem Radicalism," who is discussed at the beginning of this video CLICK HERE

For additional information on Jeffrey B. Perry CLICK HERE

For information on Theodore W. Allen's "The Invention of the White Race" (Verso Books) CLICK HERE

For additional writings by and about Theodore W. Allen CLICK HERE

For a video presentation on Theodore W. Allen's "The Invention of the White Race," which draws insights from the life and work of Hubert Harrison CLICK HERE

For key insights from Theodore W. Allen on U.S. Labor History CLICK HERE
 Read More 
Be the first to comment

“Hubert Harrison, Theodore W. Allen, and the Centrality of the Struggle Against White Supremacy"

“Hubert Harrison, Theodore W. Allen, and the Centrality of the Struggle Against White Supremacy"
5-SESSION CLASS BEGINS Saturday, July 26, 2014, 10:00 am --12 Noon
Classes continue on August 2, 9, 16, 30 at 10 am
The Commons
388 Atlantic Avenue (between Hoyt and Bond)
Brooklyn, New York, NY, 11217

Mark the Dates! Share the Information!

This course will focus on the relevance today of important insights from Hubert H. Harrison (1883-1927) and Theodore W. Allen (1919-2005), two of the twentieth century's most important writers on race and class.

The St. Croix, Virgin Island-born, Harlem-based Harrison was the leading Black activist and theoretician in the Socialist Party; a brilliant writer, orator, and editor; the founder of the "New Negro Movement," the major radical influence on A. Philip Randolph and Marcus Garvey, and a self-described "radical internationalist." He is known as "The Father of Harlem Radicalism."

The Brooklyn-based Allen originated his "white skin privilege" analysis in 1965, authored Class Struggle and the Origin of Racial Slavery: The Invention of the White Race, in 1975, and authored the two-volume The Invention of the White Race (1994, 1997; Verso Books: New Expanded Edition, 2012).

Jeffrey B. Perry edited A Hubert Harrison Reader (Wesleyan University Press, 2001) and authored Hubert Harrison: The Voice of Harlem Radicalism, 1883-1918 (Columbia University Press, 2008). Perry also contributed new front and back matter to the new edition of Allen's The Invention of the White Race and he authored "The Developing Conjuncture and Some Insights From Hubert Harrison and Theodore W. Allen on the Centrality of the Fight Against White Supremacy" (Cultural Logic, 2010)

Saturday morning at 10:00 AM to 12 noon
5-Session Course at The Commons in Brooklyn
Session 1 -- July 26, 2014, 10 am
Class continues on August 2, 9, 16, 30 at 10 am
The Commons
388 Atlantic Avenue (between Hoyt and Bond)
Brooklyn, New York, NY, 11217

On this topic people may be interested in the following links --

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"

A video of a Slide Presentation/Talk on Hubert Harrison

A video of a Slide Presentation/Talk on Theodore W. Allen’s The Invention of the White Race

 Read More 
Be the first to comment

Please Help to Get Hubert Harrison in Libraries Across the Country!!!


Hubert H. Harrison (1883-1927) was a brilliant writer, orator, editor, educator and political activist. He is one of the giants of our history. He believed that free public libraries were one of the great institutions in America and he wrote such powerful essays as “Read! Read! Read!”

The American Library Association’s Choice Magazine rates Hubert Harrison: The Voice of Harlem Radicalism, 1883-1918" (Columbia University Press) by Jeffrey B. Perry as “Essential . . . All Levels/Libraries.” See the review HERE Please share the review with your local public librarian and the librarian at your school and /or university. Other reviewers’ comments from scholars and activists can be read HERE Information about the life and work of Hubert Harrison is available HERE and HERE

Please Help to Get Hubert Harrison in Libraries Across the Country!!!

 Read More 
Be the first to comment

Slide Presentation/Talks on Hubert Harrison by Jeffrey B. Perry Roxbury, Boston, and Cambridge Mass. Feb. 15 and 16, 2014

February 15, 2014
Saturday, 2-4:30 pm, Hubert Harrison: The Voice of Harlem Radicalism, 1883-1918 (Columbia University Press) will be discussed in a slide presentation/talk by Jeffrey B. Perry at the Dudley Branch Library 65 Warren Street, Roxbury, MA. Contact persons Mimi Jones, Mirna Lascano, Umang Kumar, and Charlie Welch; Branch Librarian Janet Buda. Event sponsored by Friends of the Dudley Branch Library, Inc., Alliance for a Secular and Democratic South Asia, and Massachusetts Global Action


February 16, 2014
Sunday, 11 AM -- Hubert Harrison: The Voice of Harlem Radicalism, 1883-1918 (Columbia University Press) will be discussed in a slide presentation/talk by Jeffrey B. Perry at the Community Church of Boston, 565 Boylston St., Boston, MA 02116. Contact persons Linda Jenkins, Karla Rab, and Mary Lynn Cramer.


February 16, 2014
Sunday, 3 PM, Jeffrey B. Perry will discuss "Hubert Harrison: The Voice of Harlem Radicalism, 1883-1918"(Columbia University Press) at the Center for Marxist Education, 550 Massachusetts Ave (Central Square), Cambridge, MA 02116. Contact persons Joe Ramsey, Casey Doyle, Doug Enaa Greene.



Hubert Harrison (1883-1927) was a brilliant writer, orator, educator, critic, and political activist. who he was described by the historian Joel A. Rogers, in World’s Great Men of Color as “the foremost Afro-American intellect of his time.” Labor and civil rights leader A. Philip Randolph described Harrison as “the father of Harlem Radicalism.” Harrison’s friend and pallbearer, Arthur Schomburg, fully aware of his popularity, eulogized to the thousands attending Harrison’s Harlem funeral that he was also “ahead of his time.”

Born in St. Croix, Danish West Indies, in 1883, Harrison arrived in New York as a seventeen-year-old orphan in 1900. He made his mark in the United States by struggling against class and racial oppression, by helping to create a remarkably rich and vibrant intellectual life among African Americans, and by working for the enlightened development of the lives of “the common people.” He consistently emphasized the need for working class people to develop class-consciousness; for “Negroes” to develop race consciousness, self-reliance, and self-respect; and for all those he reached to challenge white supremacy and develop modern, scientific, critical, and independent thought as a means toward liberation.

A self-described “radical internationalist,” Harrison was extremely well-versed in history and events in Africa, Asia, the Mideast, the Americas, and Europe. More than any other political leader of his era, he combined class-consciousness and anti-white supremacist race consciousness in a coherent political radicalism. He opposed capitalism and maintained that white supremacy was central to capitalist rule in the United States. He emphasized that “politically, the Negro is the touchstone of the modern democratic idea”; that “as long as the Color Line exists, all the perfumed protestations of Democracy on the part of the white race” were “downright lying,” that “the cant of ‘Democracy’” was “intended as dust in the eyes of white voters,” and that true democracy and equality for “Negroes” implied “a revolution . . . startling even to think of.”

Working from this theoretical framework, he was active with a wide variety of movements and organizations and played 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 U.S. history. His ideas on the centrality of the struggle against white supremacy anticipated the profound transformative power of the Civil Rights/Black Liberation struggles of the 1960s and his thoughts on “democracy in America” offer penetrating insights on the limitations and potential of America in the twenty-first century.

Harrison served as the foremost Black organizer, agitator, and theoretician in the Socialist Party of New York during its 1912 heyday; he founded the first organization (the Liberty League) and the first newspaper (The Voice) of the militant, World War I-era “New Negro” movement; and he served as the editor of the New Negro in 1919 and as the editor of the Negro World and principal radical influence on the Garvey movement during its radical high point in 1920. His views on race and class profoundly influenced a generation of “New Negro” militants including A. Philip Randolph and Marcus Garvey. Considered more race conscious than Randolph and more class conscious than Garvey, Harrison is a key ideological link between the two great trends of the Black Liberation Movement -- the labor and civil rights trend associated with Martin Luther King, Jr., and the race and nationalist trend associated with Malcolm X. (Randolph and Garvey were, respectively, the direct links to King marching on Washington, with Randolph at his side, and to Malcolm, whose parents were involved with the Garvey movement, speaking militantly and proudly on street corners in Harlem.)

Harrison was not only a political radical, however. J. A. Rogers described him as an “Intellectual Giant and Free-Lance Educator,” whose contributions were wide-ranging, innovative, and influential. He was an immensely skilled and popular orator and educator who spoke and/or read six languages; a highly praised journalist, critic, and book reviewer (reportedly the first regular Black book reviewer in history); a pioneer Black activist in the freethought and birth control movements; a bibliophile and library builder and popularizer who helped develop the 135th Street Public Library into what became known as the internationally famous Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture; a pioneer Black lecturer for the New York City Board of Education and one of its foremost orators).

For information on Hubert Harrison: The Voice of Harlem Radicalism, 1883-1918 (Columbia University Press) CLICK HERE and CLICK HERE

For writings by and about Hubert Harrison CLICK HERE

Please come to a Presentation on Hubert Harrison.
Please come with a friend, or friends.
Please share this with others.

 Read More 
Be the first to comment