Columbia University Press Blog Items on Hubert Harrison -- see HERE
Jeffrey B. Perry Blog
"Hubert Harrison and Contemporary Struggles for Racial Equality"
By Jeffrey B. Perry -- see HERE Oeiginally published January 9, 2021.
"Introduction" to the Pulitzer Prize nominated "Hubert Harrison: The Struggle for Equality, 1918-1927" Is Now Online
Columbia University Press has posted online the "Introduction" to the Pulitzer Prize nominated "Hubert Harrison: The Struggle for Equality, 1918-1927" The brief "Introduction" is well worth the read and can be found on the CUP webpage under "Excerpt" Here The book can be obtained at 20% off using code "CUP20"
On Hubert Harrison's August 15, 1920 "Introductory" to "When Africa Awakes: The 'Inside Story' of the Stirrings and Strivings of the New Negro in the Western World"
Hubert Harrison, in the "Introductory" to his August 15, 1920 publication of "When Africa Awakes: The 'Inside Story' of the Stirrings and Strivings of the New Negro in the Western World," provides important insights for understanding the militant, political and literary, "New Negro Movement" that he founded.
The book contains fifty-three of his writings between 1915 and 1920 that establish his pioneering theoretical, educational, and organizational role in the founding and development of the militant "New Negro Movement." Harrison compiled this collection of his editorials, articles, and reviews from newspapers that he edited -- "The Voice" (1917-1919), "The New Negro" (1919), and "The Negro World" (1920) -- in order to explain the "new point of view" that developed during the Great War.
That new point of view, wrote Harrison, included an internationalist perspective describing how: during the Great War "the idea of democracy was widely advertised . . . as a convenient camouflage behind which competing imperialists masked their sordid aims"; "those who so loudly proclaimed and formulated the new democratic demands never had the slightest intention of extending the limits or the applications of 'democracy'"; "subject populations" put forth their own demands for democracy leading to "great unrest"; "black, brown and yellow peoples" were "insisting that democracy shall be made safe for them"; and the "race-consciousness" of the "Negro people" in the United States quickened and they put forth "new demands."
As we mark the 52nd anniversary of the March 1970 postal strike people may be interested in this article I (Jeffrey B. Perry) wrote on the eve of the July 1978 postal wildcat strikes entitled "What's Behind Postal Strife" (in "New York Workers' Perspective, an Independent Newspaper of Labor and Community," July 1978). An image of the article is posted on my Facebook page of 3/19/22.
400 years ago, on March 22, 1622 (as described by Theodore W. Allen in "The Invention of the White Race"), the Powhatan Indians under Opechancanough, fearing that the English "would dispossess them of this Country," mounted what was at the time "the strongest effort ever made ... to halt the Anglo-American occupation of Indian lands." On the first day alone, one third of the Anglo population of North America was killed. Within the next year, more would die from privation than died in the initial assault. Of the survivors, two-thirds were not fit for work.
In the aftermath of the attack, and concerned about additional attacks, the Colony authorities forbade game hunting and the planting of corn near dwellings. The settlement perimeter was constricted, inhabitants were uprooted, half the landholders were dead and could offer no places for tenants to stay nor wages for day-laborers. Corn supplies were limited and a monopoly on corn was established. The price of corn went up eight-fold in one year, while the price of tobacco, the colonists' only money, was cut in half. Tenants faced insupportable debt and reportedly could not feed themselves three months out of the year. For the employed wage-worker, a tobacco wage in real terms was two-thirds what it was in England.
The situation was different, however, for the Colony elite, particularly for those who had cornered the market in corn. They were the debt-holders of the impoverished tenants, and they embarked on a scheme whereby workers in general were reduced to unpaid, long-term bond-labor. The laboring classes were dependent on the bourgeoisie for corn, so they were "compelled to submit to the condition dictated by the plantation bourgeoise: the status of ... bond-laborers." By the spring of 1622, servants' contracts began to appear that contained a new unprecedented provision allowing the employer to dispose of the servant to the employers' "heirs and assigns," and by 1623, efforts to reduce tenants to servants were common.
Allen then describes how the "Anglo-American plantation bourgeoisie seized on the devastation brought about by the Powhatan attack of 22 March 1622, to execute a plan for the chattelization of labor in Virginia Colony" and how "from that seeding came the plantation of bondage."