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Jeffrey B. Perry Blog

Hubert Harrison "Tells Plain Facts and the Bosses Don't Like Them"

A little over 100 years ago, on May 19, 1913, Hubert Harrison spoke at a major rally for the Paterson Silk Strikers at the Botto House in Haledon, NJ. Other speakers that day included “Big Bill” Haywood, Patrick Quinlan, Frederick Sumner Boyd, and Elizabeth Gurley Flynn.

The Botto House later became the "American Labor Museum," in part because of the large and important meetings held there during the strike.

The Paterson "Evening News" described Harrison as "very bitter in his denunciations of the New York newspaper writers" and reported that he "commenced a tirade upon one of the writers in particular, and called him a -- dirty dog.”

The anti-strike "Evening News" added that "his comparisons were very blasphemous and not fit for . . . the papers to re-print"

Co-agitator Flynn, however, defended him saying that "he tells plain facts and the bosses don't like them."

(Drawn from Jeffrey B. Perry, “Hubert Harrison: The Voice of Harlem Radicalism, 1883-1918” (Columbia University Press) Read More 
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"The revolution is not coming from above, remember, but from below, working its way up from the depths.” -- Hubert Harrison, November 30, 1913 at a meeting called by the Paterson Defense Committee at the New Star Casino in NYC.

Hubert Harrison had great faith in the people and emphasized that significant social change would come from below. His thinking resonates with many today and recently efforts have been started to get his biography to prison readers. Artists -- Hip Hop and working class -- have also generated Hubert Harrison T-shirts. Those interested in getting books to prison readers can write to jeffreybperry@gmail.com (please also include your phone number). Read More 
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