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Jeffrey B. Perry Blog

Hubert Harrison and W.E.B. Du Bois, July 1918

Following the 1918 Liberty Congress, Hubert Harrison initiated "New Negro" criticism of W. E. B. Du Bois for urging African Americans to forget justifiable grievances [lynching, segregation, disfranchisement], for "closing ranks" behind President Woodrow Wilson's war effort, and for following Joel A. Spingarn's lead and seeking a captaincy in Military Intelligence, the branch of government that monitored radicals and the African American community. Harrison's exposé, "The Descent of Du Bois" ("The Voice," July 25, 1918) was a principal reason that Du Bois was denied the captaincy he sought in Military Intelligence, and more than any other document it marked the significant break between the "New Negroes" and the older leadership.

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