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. “
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.
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