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Jeffrey B. Perry Blog

Hubert Harrison on Mayday 1912

Hubert Harrison on Mayday
On May 1, 1912, International Workers Day, the brilliant soapbox orator, Hubert Harrison, was one of the Socialist Party’s featured speakers at a giant May Day rally at Union Square which, according to the “New York Times” was attended by "some 50,000 organized workers, men and women, wearing the bright red of socialism as the world wide band of labor."

In September of 1912, in a precursor to “Occupy Wall Street,” the “Times” described Harrison him as "an eloquent and forceful negro speaker" who "shattered all records for distance in an address on Socialism in front of the Stock Exchange building." He reportedly "mounted the stand in front of the Socialists' banner at noon and started in with a description of life in the medieval ages." At first "his voice carried to the outermost limits of the crowd" and as the hours passed his "voice grew huskier and huskier, and his circle of auditors all drew closer and closer." He went strong into the third hour and then talked himself into "a hoarse whisper" before ending.”

For comments from scholars and activists on "Hubert Harrison: The Voice of Harlem Radicalism, 1883-1918" (Columbia University Press) CLICK HERE

For a link to the Hubert H. Harrison Papers at Columbia University’s Rare Book and Manuscript Library CLICK HERE

For articles, audios, and videos by and about Hubert Harrison CLICK HERE

For information on "A Hubert Harrison Reader" (Wesleyan University Press) CLICK HERE

For information on the new, Diasporic Africa Press expanded edition of Hubert H. Harrison's “When Africa Awakes: The 'Inside Story’ of the Stirrings and Strivings of the New Negro in the Western World” CLICK HERE

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

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“Hubert Harrison’s wisdom on race, war, and equality” by Jeffrey B. Perry in “The Christian Century”


“Hubert Harrison’s wisdom on race, war, and equality” by Jeffrey B. Perry in “The Christian Century” CLICK HERE
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April 27 is the Birthday of Hubert Harrison Share Information on the Life and Work of This Giant of Black History


April 27 is the Birthday of Hubert Harrison
Share Information on the Life and Work of This Giant of Black History


Hubert Henry Harrison (April 27, 1883–December 17, 1927) was a brilliant, St. Croix, Virgin Islands-born, Harlem-based, working-class, writer, orator, educator, critic, and political activist. Historian Joel A. Rogers in “World’s Great Men of Color” said that the autodidactic Harrison was “perhaps the foremost Afro-American intellect of his time.” A. Philip Randolph called him “the father of Harlem radicalism.”

Harrison was a “radical internationalist” and his views on race and class profoundly influenced a generation of "New Negro" militants including the class radical Randolph and the race radical Marcus Garvey. Considered more race-conscious than Randolph and more class-conscious than Garvey, Harrison is a key link in the two great trends of the Black Liberation Movement -- 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 was the leading Black activist in the Socialist Party of New York during its 1912 heyday and the only Black speaker at the historic Paterson silk workers strike of 1913.

He was an extraordinary soapbox orator and the New York Times described how he spoke at Broad and Wall Streets in front of the New York Stock Exchange on socialism for over three hours to an audience that extended as far as his voice could reach (in a clear precursor to “Occupy Wall Street”).

In 1917 Harrison founded the first organization, the Liberty League, and the first newspaper, The Voice, of the militant "New Negro Movement.” That year he also led a giant Harlem rally that protested the white supremacist “pogrom” on the African American community of East St. Louis, Illinois (which is only twelve miles from Ferguson, Missouri).

In 1919 Harrison edited The New Negro: A Monthly Magazine of a Different Sort (“intended as an organ of the international consciousness of the darker races -- especially of the Negro race”).

In 1920 he served as editor of the "Negro World" and as the principal radical influence on the Marcus Garvey movement. Toward the end of that year he published his second book, When Africa Awakes: The “Inside Story” of the Stirrings and Strivings of the New Negro in the Western World.

People are encouraged to include Hubert Harrison in their readings, study, course lists, and courses and to encourage public, private, and school libraries to include books by and about him in their collections.

For comments from scholars and activists on "Hubert Harrison: The Voice of Harlem Radicalism, 1883-1918" (Columbia University Press) CLICK HERE

For a link to the Hubert H. Harrison Papers at Columbia University’s Rare Book and Manuscript Library CLICK HERE

For articles, audios, and videos by and about Hubert Harrison CLICK HERE

For information on "A Hubert Harrison Reader" (Wesleyan University Press) CLICK HERE

For information on the new, Diasporic Africa Press expanded edition of Hubert H. Harrison's “When Africa Awakes: The 'Inside Story’ of the Stirrings and Strivings of the New Negro in the Western World” CLICK HERE

For a video of a Slide Presentation/Talk on Hubert Harrison CLICK HERE
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"I had heard of prejudice in America but never dreamed of it being so intensely bitter" Claude McKay

Claude McKay


When Hubert Harrison arrived in the United States from St. Croix in 1900 he was “shocked” by the virulence of the white supremacy he encountered. Other Afro-Caribbean immigrants in that period reacted similarly when they arrived. Harrison’s friend, Jamaica-born Claude McKay, explained that when he came to the U.S.

“It was the first time I had ever come face to face with such manifest, implacable hatred of my race, and my feelings were indescribable . . . I had heard of prejudice in America but never dreamed of it being so intensely bitter.”

For more on this see the article “The Developing Conjuncture and Some Insights From Hubert Harrison and Theodore W. Allen on the Centrality of the Fight Against White Supremacy” in PDF format HERE or at “Cultural Logic” HERE.

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“Some Statistics on the Class and White Supremacist Shaping of U.S. Society”







“Some Statistics on the Class and White Supremacist Shaping of U.S. Society” drawn from the article “The Developing Conjuncture and Some Insights From Hubert Harrison and Theodore W. Allen on the Centrality of the Fight Against White Supremacy” ("Cultural Logic") available in PDF format at the TOP LEFT HERE or at “Cultural Logic” HERE

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Video on Theodore W. Allen's The Invention of the White Race Passes 85,000-Viewers Mark Has Many Insights for TodayStudy and Share Allen's Work





85,000 viewers -- Theodore W. Allen (pioneer of class struggle-based “white skin privilege” analysis in the 1960s and author of “The Invention of the White Race” in the 1990s) and Hubert Harrison (“The Father of Harlem Radicalism”) are two of the most important thinkers on issues of race and class of the 20th century.

They offer a tremendous amount of insights to people struggling today for a more just and radically changed society. Those concerned with issues of race and class are strongly urged to become familiar with their work and to share information by and about them with others.

This video presentation on Theodore W. Allen’s “The Invention of White Race,” which opens with some insights from the life and work of Hubert Harrison, has just passed the 80,000-Viewers Mark.

This slide presentation / talk by Jeffrey B. Perry was hosted by the “Hubert Harrison and Theodore W. Allen Society” at the Brecht Forum in Manhattan. Long-time activist Muriel Tillinghast chaired the event and long-time activist Sean Ahern assisted with the slides.
The video was shot by Fred Nguyen and made available Courtesy of Fansmiles Productions.

For information on Theodore W. Allen’s “The Invention of the White Race” Volume II: "The Origin of Racial Oppression in Anglo America" (including comments from scholars and activists, Table of Contents, and an overview of the volume) CLICK HERE Note – the new, expanded Verso Books edition of this volume includes new introductions and notes, an expanded index, and a lengthy and detailed internal study guide.

For information on Theodore W. Allen’s “The Invention of the White Race” Volume I: “Racial Oppression and Social Control" (including comments from scholars and activists, Table of Contents, and an overview of the volume) CLICK HERE Note – the new, expanded Verso Books edition of this volume includes new introductions and notes, an expanded index, and a lengthy and detailed internal study guide.

For information on Theodore W. Allen’s “Summary of the Argument of The Invention of the White Race” Part 1 CLICK HERE
and for Part 2 CLICK HERE

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

For an in-depth treatment of the development of the work of Theodore W. Allen see “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 in PDF format at the TOP LEFT CLICK HERE
or at “Cultural Logic” CLICK HERE
Note: Important Allen insights on class struggle, the origin [note singular] of racial oppression in Anglo-America, "whiteness," "racism," and white privileges are offered

97,000 Viewers -- For a video interview with Theodore W. Allen on “The Invention of the White Race” conducted by Stella Winston and viewed by over 97,000 people 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 information on "A Hubert Harrison Reader" (Wesleyan University Press) CLICK HERE
For information on the new, Diasporic Africa Press expanded edition of Hubert H. Harrison's “When Africa Awakes: The 'Inside Story’ of the Stirrings and Strivings of the New Negro in the Western World” 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

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Five Books to Consider for Readings on Race and Class in America



Five Books to Consider for Readings on Race and Class in America


Jeffrey B. Perry, “Hubert Harrison: The Voice of Harlem Radicalism, 1883-1918” (Columbia University Press, 2008). Also see HERE

Theodore W. Allen, “The Invention of the White Race” Volume I: “Racial Oppression and Social Control" , Edited with an Introduction and Notes by Jeffrey B. Perry (1994, Verso Books, new expanded edition 2012).

Theodore W. Allen, “The Invention of the White Race” Volume II: "The Origin of Racial Oppression in Anglo America", Edited with an Introduction and Notes by Jeffrey B. Perry (1997, Verso Books, new expanded edition 2012).

“A Hubert Harrison Reader”, Edited with an Introduction and Notes by Jeffrey B. Perry (Wesleyan University Press, 2001).

Hubert H. Harrison, “When Africa Awakes: The ‘Inside Story’ of the Stirrings and Strivings of the New Negro in the Western World,” New Expanded Edition, Edited with Introduction and Notes by Jeffrey B. Perry (Diasporic Africa Press, 2015).

The independent, working class intellectuals -- Harrison and Allen – are two of the twentieth century’s most important thinkers on race and class. They have much to offer readers today.

In addition, here are links to videos of slide presentation talks on –

Theodore W. Allen's “The Invention of the White Race” at the Brecht Forum in New York City and on
Hubert Harrison (at the Dudley Public Library in Roxbury, Massachusetts).


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Hubert Harrison wrote: "I was well aware that Woodrow Wilson’s protestations of democracy were lying protestations, consciously and deliberately designed to deceive."


Hubert Harrison wrote: "I was well aware that Woodrow Wilson’s protestations of democracy were lying protestations, consciously and deliberately designed to deceive."

For comments from activists and scholars on "Hubert Harrison: The Voice of Harlem Radicalism, 1883-1918" (Columbia University Press) CLICK HERE and CLICK HERE

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

For information on "A Hubert Harrison Reader" (Wesleyan University Press) CLICK HERE

For information on the new, Diasporic Africa Press expanded edition of Hubert H. Harrison's “When Africa Awakes: The 'Inside Story’ of the Stirrings and Strivings of the New Negro in the Western World” see CLICK HERE

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Hubert Harrison founded the first organization and the first newspaper of the militant “New Negro Movement” in 1917 (years before Alain Locke’s “New Negro”)



Anyone reading about, discussing, or teaching “The New Negro” is encouraged to include in that effort the new, Diasporic Africa Press expanded edition of Hubert H. Harrison's “When Africa Awakes: The 'Inside Story’ of the Stirrings and Strivings of the New Negro in the Western World.”
Hubert Harrison founded the first organization and the first newspaper of the militant “New Negro Movement” in 1917 (years before Alain Locke’s “New Negro” publication) and this book includes over 50 Harrison articles (with introductions and notes) covering the period from 1917 into 1920 (when he edited Marcus Garvey’s “Negro World"). See HERE

You can also see the book at the Diasporic Africa Press website HERE

See the E-book HERE

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Words from Hubert Harrison on the March 25, 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist factory fire



Words from Hubert Harrison referring to the March 25, 1911, Triangle Shirtwaist factory fire at Washington Place and Greene Street in Manhattan's Greenwich Village in which 146 workers died 1911 --




"When any portion of the people of a commonwealth are denied the rights accorded to the rest, that commonwealth ceases to be a republic in fact, whatever it may be in name. Then, again, the broad denial of justice to colored men as exemplified in lynchings, segregation, public proscription and disfranchisement results in the vitiation of democratic faith. Herein is seen the supplying power of a false practice. The public mind accustoms itself to seeing these things until it can look with complacency upon the jailing of innocent labor leaders and the murder of working girls in a fire trap factory."

For more Harrison writings CLICK HERE
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