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Hubert Harrison: Harlem Radical


Dr. Jeffrey B. Perry will discuss his book, Hubert Harrison: The Voice of Harlem Radicalism, 1883-1918, Saturday March 5th 2pm @ Hamilton Fish Park Library.

"Hubert Harrison is the most significant Black democratic socialist of early-twentieth century America."
Cornel West

"Hubert Harrison breaks open long-sealed tomes of information about the militant aspect of the Harlem Renaissance."
Amiri Baraka

All too often through school we are fed sanitized and easily digestible versions of African American history and events leading up to the Harlem Renaissance. While lynchings in the United States were taking place on a daily basis, white supremacy reigned as the pervasive norm throughout society, and imperialist adventurism was championed by the nation's President, Teddy Roosevelt, we are often told the intellectual choice for black people existed between the thought of two men, Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. Du Bois.

Hubert Harrison greatly disrupts this false binary and forces us to re-examine African American history and race relations in terms that are very often ignored in mainstream discourse. A secularist, radical egalitarian and an astute critic of both Booker T. and Du Bois (respectfully accusing the former as "subservient" and the latter as "accomodationist"), Harrison's polemical finesse, massive intellect and brazen style paved the way for the New Negro Movement, Marcus Garvey, Malcolm X and hundreds of other black activists.

Raised on the much more racially-integrated island of St. Croix, Hubert Harrison developed a fierce autodidactism later in life to counter the abhorrent racist culture of the United States, and helped foster the rich atmosphere of creative ferment, dissent and discussion in pre-1920s Harlem. In this cultural nexus and from his notoriety as a soapbox orator, he encountered numerous other historical notables such as Arthur Schomburg, Eugene V. Debs, Big Bill Haywood, Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, James Weldon Johnson, and countless others.

Hubert Harrison represents a key link between the resistance against America's systematic white supremacy, the importance of socialist and labor history, and the proud tradition of militant black activism. He reminds us today of the importance of anti-white supremacist and anti-capitalist struggle.

For more info, please attend author Dr. Jeffrey B. Perry's lecture on his book, Hubert Harrison: The Voice of Harlem Radicalism, 1883-1918, on Saturday March 5th 2pm @ Hamilton Fish Park Library.

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