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Jeffrey B. Perry Blog

"Hubert Harrison: 'The Father of Harlem Radicalism" Two-Part Discussion September 12 and 13, 2013 Jeffrey B. Perry and Utrice Leid "Leid Stories" on the Progressive Radio Network

September 12 and 13, 2013, Thursday and Friday, 1-2 p.m.

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. “

“Hubert Harrison: ‘The Father of Harlem Radicalism’”

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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For writings by and about Hubert Harrison Click Here
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The Invention of the White Race by Theodore W. Allen Book Launch and Slide Presentation/Talk by Jeffrey B. Perryfor the New Expanded Edition (Verso Books)Thurs., Jan. 31, 2013, 7:30 pm Brecht Forum, NYC

The Invention of the White Race
by Theodore W. Allen
Book Launch and Slide Presentation/Talk by Jeffrey B. Perry
for the New Expanded Edition (Verso Books, November 2012)
Hosted by the Hubert Harrison and Theodore W. Allen Society
Thursday, January 31, 2013, 7:30 pm
Brecht Forum
451 West St. (between Bank and Bethune Sts.)
New York, NY 10014

Theodore W. Allen’s The Invention of the White Race, with its focus on racial oppression and social control, is one of the twentieth-century’s major contributions to historical understanding. This two-volume classic (Vol. 1: Racial Oppression and Social Control and Vol. 2: The Origin of Racial Oppression in Anglo-America) details how the “white race” was invented as a ruling-class social control formation and a system of racial oppression was imposed in response to labor solidarity in the wake of Bacon’s Rebellion (1676-77), how the “white race” was created and maintained through “white race” privileges conferred on laboring class European-Americans relative to African-Americans, how these privileges were ruinous to the interests of African-Americans and “disastrous” for laboring class European-Americans, and how the “white race” has been the principal historic guarantor of ruling-class domination in America.

The Invention of the White Race presents a full-scale challenge to what Allen refers to as “The Great White Assumption” – “the unquestioning, indeed unthinking acceptance of the ‘white’ identity of European-Americans of all classes as a natural attribute rather than a social construct.” Its thesis on the origin and nature of the “white race” contains the root of a new and radical approach to United States history, one that challenges master narratives taught in the media and in schools, colleges, and universities. With its equalitarian motif and emphasis on class struggle it speaks to people today who strive for change worldwide.

Extraordinary praise for Allen’s work has been offered from such scholars and labor, left, and anti-white supremacist activists activists as Audrey Smedley, Bill Fletcher, Jr., Tim Wise, Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, Gene Bruskin, Tami Gold, Muriel Tillinghast, Joe Berry, George Schmidt, Noel Inatiev, Carl Davidson, Mark Solomon, Gerald Horne, Dorothy Salem, Sean Ahern, Wilson Moses, David Roediger Joe Wilson, Charles Lumpkins, Michael Zweig, Margery Freeman, Michael Goldfield, Spencer Sunshine, Ed Peeples, Russell Dale, Gwen-Midlo Hall, Sam Anderson, Gregory Meyerson, Younes Abouyoub, Bruce Nelson, William Carlotti, Peter Bohmer, Dennis O’Neill, Ted Pearson, Juliet Ucelli, Stella Winston, Sean J. Connolly, Vivien Sandlund, Dave Marsh, Russell R. Menard, Jonathan Scott, John D. Brewer, Richard Williams, William L. Vanderburg, Rodney Barker, and Matthew Frye Jacobson. CLICK HERE to read comments

To assist individual readers, classes, and study groups this new expanded edition of Allen’s seminal two-volume "classic" includes new introductions, new appendices with background on Allen and his writings, expanded indexes, and new internal study guides. The study guides follow each volume, chapter-by-chapter, and the indexes also include entries from Allen's extensive notes based on twenty years of primary research.

The work should be of special interest to students of U.S. History, Labor History, African-American History, Irish History, Caribbean History, African Diaspora Studies, American Studies, Race and Ethnicity, Political and Economic History, Sociology and Anthropology, and "White Privilege" and “Whiteness” Studies.

Jeffrey B. Perry contributed new introductions, back matter, internal study guides, and expanded indexes to Verso Books’ new expanded edition of The Invention of the White Race. For more information on Dr. Perry and his work on Hubert Harrison “the father of Harlem radicalism” (1883-1927) and Theodore W. Allen (1919-2005) CLICK HERE .


“When the first Africans arrived in Virginia in 1619, there were no ‘white’ people there; nor, according to the colonial records, would there be for another sixty years.”
Theodore W. Allen
(Written after searching through 885 county-years of Virginia’s colonial records)

The above statement, based on twenty-plus years of research of Virginia’s colonial records, reflected the fact that Allen found “no instance of the official use of the word ‘white’ as a token of social status” prior to its appearance in a Virginia law passed in 1691. As he later explained, “Others living in the colony at that time were English; they had been English when they left England, and naturally they and their Virginia-born children were English, they were not ‘white.’ White identity had to be carefully taught, and it would be only after the passage of some six crucial decades” that the word “would appear as a synonym for European-American.”

Allen was not merely speaking of word usage, however. His probing research led him to conclude – based on the commonality of experience and demonstrated solidarity between African-American and European-American laboring people, the lack of a substantial intermediate buffer social control stratum, and the indeterminate status of African-Americans – that the “white race” was not, and could not have been, functioning in early Virginia.

The Invention of the White Race, especially Volume 2, The Origin of Racial Oppression in Anglo-America, tells that story. For a Table of Contents for Volume 2 CLICK HERE For a Table of Contents for Volume 1 CLICK HERE

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