The Voice of Harlem Radicalism, 1883-1918
Hubert Harrison 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. Harrison's ideas 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 platform associated with Malcolm X.
The foremost Black organizer, agitator, and theoretician of the Socialist Party of New York, Harrison was also the founder of the "New Negro" movement, the editor of Negro World, and the principal radical influence on the Garvey movement. He was a highly praised journalist and critic (reportedly the first regular Black book reviewer), a freethinker and early proponent of birth control, a supporter of Black writers and artists, a leading public intellectual, and a bibliophile who helped transform the 135th Street Public Library into an international center for research in Black culture. His biography offers profound insights on race, class, religion, immigration, war, democracy, and social change in America.
Perry's detailed research brings to life a transformative figure who has been little recognized for his contributions to progressive race and class politics.
Perry's clear prose allows access to a three-dimensional picture of Harrison's life.
An excellent work and a great contribution to scholarship... Perry must be applauded.
Bill Fletcher, Jr.
[Hubert Harrison] offers profound insights on race, class, religion, immigration, war, democracy, and social change in America.
Through Perry's prodigious research Harrison's brilliance can once more engage a generation eager to find inspiration and renewed political spirit.
[A] brilliant masterpiece.
Wilson J. Moses
This critically important book will do for Harrison what David Levering Lewis did for Du Bois... Essential.
This meticulously-researched book fills and enormous gap in the knowledge of black activist intellectuals in the US.
Carole Boyce Davies
Rich and exhaustively researched.
Scholars and students... are indeed indebted to Jeffrey Perry for this magisterial study of Hubert Harrison.
Larry A. Greene
Perry offer(s) new and provocative analyses of African American leadership during the early twentieth century.
Hubert Harrison is more than a work of scholarship. It is a timely act of generous recognition and restitution of a Black Caribbean scholar who played a significant role in the story of Harlem Radicalism.
Perry's biography gives an illuminating account not only of Harrison's strengths and weaknesses but also of the larger historical contraditions informing Black radicalism and Marxism during Harrison's lifetime.
Perry's rich biography of Harrison is filled with examples of leadership that would eventually be followed nationwide and result in black political power in Harlem.
List of Illustrations
Preface and Acknowledgments
A Note on Usage
Part I. Intellectual Growth and Development
1. Crucian Roots (1883--1900)
2. Self-Education, Early Writings, and the Lyceums (1900--1907)
3. In Full-Touch with the Life of My People (1907--1909)
4. Secular Thought, Radical Critiques, and Criticism of Booker T. Washington (1905--1911)
Part II. Socialist Radical
5. Hope in Socialism (1911)
6. Socialist Writer and Speaker (1912)
7. Dissatisfaction with the Party (1913--1914)
8. Toward Independence (1914--1915)
Part III. The "New Negro Movement"
9. Focus on Harlem: The Birth of the "New Negro Movement" (1915--1917)
10. Founding the Liberty League and The Voice (April--September 1917)
11. Race-Conscious Activism and Organizational Difficulties (August--December 1917)
12. The Liberty Congress and the Resurrection of The Voice (January--July 1918)
Appendix: Harrison on His Character