U.S. Intellectual History Blog

"Hubert Harrison, Voice of Harlem Radicalism"

Hubert Harrison was the kind of socialist to spend his days on the street corner lecturing, his afternoons at local colleges giving presentations, and his evenings teaching workers in his own academy. He lived during the exciting, chaotic years of the Harlem Renaissance and was one of the major figures north of 125th street to conceptualize the project of the New Negro movement.

Jeffrey Perry has done extensive work to recover Harrison’s life, publishing a reader and a biography (I used his title for this blog post). The reader is excellent to extract from for courses. He has also presented at many different conferences (at one, he heard me speak and offered me a new piece of information about Mabel Byrd, one of the subjects in my first book. Not only was she a friend of Du Bois, Alain Locke, and Paul Robeson, but she attended Harrison’s school for internationalism before traveling abroad herself. She spent two years working in the International Labor Office, connected to the League of Nations, researching African workers and teaching her co-workers about African Americans.) Perry shared his research with us last November at the 3rd Annual USIH conference.

He sent me this video to share with you:

“This wonderful tribute to Hubert Harrison was done by Pablo Ferrer. The video, in Spanish, was finalized in Puerto Rico. Daniel Rodriguez Torres assisted with the English language subtitles. Hubert Harrison was a self-defined “radical internationalist.” In that spirit, and in the spirit of Pablo and Daniel, please share this video widely. The video was produced by Pablo Zulu and Africana Sights and Sounds from the Soul.”