[act-ma] 2/15 Hubert Harrison Voice of Harlem Radicalism (On for all 3 Boston Area Lectures)

Charlie Welch cwelch at tecschange.org
Sat Feb 15 08:45:49 PST 2014

This event will go on today hopefully there will not be that much snow 
until after the end of the event.
Note that the Community Church event tomorrow starts at 11 AM not 10.  
(Perry's presentation starts about 11:30)

A talk by Dr. Jeffrey Perry on
Hubert Harrison Voice of Harlem Radicalism

Sat. Feb. 15th 2 to 4:30  PM
Dudley Branch Library
65 Warren St. Roxbury.

Introduction by Mimi Jones

*He will also be talking at two other locations on Sun. Feb 16th **
**Community Church of Boston  11 AM **565 Boylston St. Copley Square Boston
Center for Marxist Education **3-5pm 
**550 Mass Ave, 2nd flr, Cambridge. Details at **ACT-MA 

Background information on Harrison— a 2-paragraph version and a 
5-paragraph version—follows:
Hubert Harrison, (1883-1927) was an immensely skilled writer, orator, 
educator, critic, and political activist who, more than any other 
political leader of his era, combined class consciousness and 
anti-white-supremacist race consciousness into a coherent political 
radicalism. The St. Croix, Virgin Islands-born and Harlem-based Harrison 
profoundly influenced "New Negro" militants, including A. Philip 
Randolph and Marcus Garvey, and his synthesis of class and race issues 
is a key unifying link between the two great trends of the Black 
Liberation Movement: the labor- and civil-rights-based work of Martin 
Luther King Jr. and the race and nationalist work associated with Malcolm X.
       Harrison played unique, signal roles in the largest class radical 
movement (socialism) and the largest race radical movement (the New 
Negro/Garvey) movement of his era. He was the foremost Black organizer, 
agitator, and theoretician of the Socialist Party of New York, the 
founder of the "New Negro" movement, the editor of the “Negro World,” 
and the principal radical influence on the Garvey movement. A 
self-described, “radical internationalist,” he was also a highly praised 
journalist and critic (reportedly the first regular Black book 
reviewer), a postal labor unionist, a union organizer (with both the 
Hotel Workers and the Pullman Porters), an IWW supporter, a speaker at 
the 1913 Paterson strike, a freethinker and early proponent of birth 
control, a supporter of Black writers and artists, a leading 
community-based public intellectual, an adult education lecturer for the 
New York City Board of Education, and a bibliophile who helped transform 
the 135th Street Public Library into an international center for 
research in Black culture (known today as the world-famous Schomburg 
Center for Research in Black Culture). His biography offers profound 
insights on race, class, religion, immigration, war, democracy, and 
social change in America.
www.jeffreybperry.net <http://www.jeffreybperry.net/>

If you can't make this talk, he will be making a similar presentation at 
the Community Church of Boston on Sun. Feb. 16th


Hubert Harrison (1883-1927) is one of the truly important figures of 
early twentieth-century America. A brilliant writer, orator, educator, 
critic, and political activist, he was described by the historian Joel 
A. Rogers, in "World’s Great Men of Color" as “the foremost 
Afro-American intellect of his time.” Rodgers adds that “No one worked 
more seriously and indefatigably to enlighten” others and “none of the 
Afro-American leaders of his time had a saner and more effective 
program.” Labor and civil rights leader A. Philip Randolph 
described Harrison as “the father of Harlem Radicalism.” Harrison’s 
friend and pallbearer, Arthur Schomburg, fully aware of his popularity 
eulogized to the thousands attending Harrison’s Harlem funeral that he 
was also “ahead of his time.”.
Born in St. Croix, Danish West Indies, in 1883, to a Bajan mother and a 
Crucian father, Harrison arrived in New York as a seventeen-year-old 
orphan in 1900. He made his mark in the United States by struggling 
against class and racial oppression, by helping to create a remarkably 
rich and vibrant intellectual life among African Americans, and by 
working for the enlightened development of the lives of “the common 
people.” He consistently emphasized the need for working class people to 
develop class consciousness; for “Negroes” to develop race 
consciousness, self-reliance, and self-respect; and for all those he 
reached to challenge white supremacy and develop modern, scientific, 
critical, and independent thought as a means toward liberation.
A self-described “radical internationalist,” Harrison was extremely 
well-versed in history and events in Africa, Asia, the Mideast, 
the Americas, and Europe. More than any other political leader of his 
era, he combined class consciousness and anti-white supremacist race 
consciousness in a coherent political radicalism. He opposed capitalism 
and maintained that white supremacy was central to capitalist rule in 
the United States. He emphasized that “politically, the Negro is the 
touchstone of the modern democratic idea”; that “as long as the Color 
Line exists, all the perfumed protestations of Democracy on the part of 
the white race” were “downright lying”; that “the cant of ‘Democracy’” 
was “intended as dust in the eyes of white voters”; and that true 
democracy and equality for “Negroes” implied “a revolution . . . 
startling even to think of.” Working from this theoretical framework, he 
was active with a wide variety of movements and organizations and played 
signal roles in the development of what were, up to that time, the 
largest class radical movement (socialism) and the largest race radical 
movement (the “New Negro”/Garvey movement) in U.S. history. His ideas on 
the centrality of the struggle against white supremacy anticipated the 
profound transformative power of the Civil Rights/Black Liberation 
struggles of the 1960s and his thoughts on “democracy in America” offer 
penetrating insights on the limitations and potential of America in the 
twenty-first century.
Harrison served as the foremost Black organizer, agitator, and 
theoretician in the Socialist Party of New York during its 1912 heyday; 
he founded the first organization (the Liberty League) and the first 
newspaper (The Voice) of the militant, World War I-era “New Negro” 
movement; and he served as the editor of the _Negro World_ and principal 
radical influence on the Garvey movement during its radical high point 
in 1920. His views on race and class profoundly influenced a generation 
of “New Negro” militants including the class radical A. Philip Randolph 
and the race radical Marcus Garvey. Considered more race conscious than 
Randolph and more class conscious than Garvey, Harrison is the key link 
in the ideological unity of the two great trends of the Black Liberation 
Movement--the labor and civil rights trend associated with Martin Luther 
King, Jr., and the race and nationalist trend associated with Malcolm X. 
(Randolph and Garvey were, respectively, the direct links to King 
marching on Washington, with Randolph at his side, and to Malcolm, whose 
parents were involved with the Garvey movement, speaking militantly and 
proudly on street corners in Harlem.)
Harrison was not only a political radical, however. Rogers described him 
as an “Intellectual Giant and Free-Lance Educator,” whose contributions 
were wide-ranging, innovative, and influential. He was an immensely 
skilled and popular orator and educator who spoke and/or read six 
languages; a highly praised journalist, critic, and book reviewer 
(reportedly the first regular Black book reviewer in history); a pioneer 
Black activist in the freethought and birth control movements; a 
bibliophile and library builder and popularizer who helped develop the 
135th Street Public Library into what became known as the 
internationally famous Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture; a 
pioneer Black lecturer for the New York City Board of Education and one 
of its foremost orators). His biography offers profound insights on 
race, class, religion, immigration, war, democracy, and social change 
in America.

PS Of special interest to Boston audiences is the fact that Hubert 
Harrison was the grandfather of Ray Richardson, the brilliant young 
producer of WGBH's "Say Brother" TV show from 1968-1970. Richardson was 
fired by WGBH after airing a special, community-based, program on the 
1970 rebellion in New Bedord and then died under suspicious 
circumstances in Mexico in January 1971. See 

  A book description and an excerpt from the book’s introduction can be 
found at--

      An overview of Harrison’s life is available at BlackPast.org 
<http://BlackPast.org> --

      A review from "Inside Higher Ed" entitled "Rediscovering Hubert 
Harrison" can be found at--
This review provides some background on the author and on the writing of 
the biography as does "Do-it-yourself Scholars" in the Princeton Alumni 
Weekly at http://paw.princeton.edu/issues/2009/04/22/pages/5110/index.xml

      Another piece, in “History News Network,” discusses “The Growing 
Interest In Hubert Harrison” and ties Harrison into such things as the 
Obama campaign and presidency, the economic crisis, and the war –

            For radio listeners, Jeffrey B. Perry discusses Hubert 
Harrison with host Doug Henwood at

            Also, Barnes and Noble Review has done a feature review of 
the biography available at --

A Book TV, CSPAN-2 program on Harrison with Jeffrey B. Perry, Komozi 
Woodard and Mark Naison can be viewed at

A Grit-TV Interview with Laura Flanders can be seen at --

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