Saturday, April 27, 2013

Hubert Harrison's 130th birthday

I can't believe that, with the exception of a passing mention, I haven't blogged about the great autodidact, freethinker, radical, polymath Hubert Harrison (April 27, 1883 - December 17, 1927), the 'father of Harlem radicalism'.

Many years ago, in 1993 I believe, I was introduced to the Harrison scholar Jeff Perry by my late friend and colleague Jim Murray. I had long been interested in Harrison as a neglected figure but important to me because of his atheism and autodidacticism. As librarian/archivist of the C.L.R. James Institute, I created a web presence for Harrison and Jeff's work:

The Hubert Harrison Center

We hosted Jeff and Harrison's granddaughter for a book talk when A Hubert Harrison Reader appeared:

The C.L.R. James Institute Presents: Researching Hubert Harrison: An Evening with Jeff Perry

Since then, Jeff has developed his own web site: Jeffrey B. Perry. The first volume of his Harrison autobiography has been published:

Hubert Harrison: The Voice of Harlem Radicalism, 1883-1918

Recently, Jeff gave a talk in Washington, DC on Harrison and Theodore W. Allen's On "The Invention of the 'White' Race". It was a masterful presentation and not dumbed down as the general culture has become. It is important to know that Allen was a serious autodidactic scholar whose research into the origins of racial slavery is different from the silly stuff that goes under the rubric of "Whiteness Studies" today, and the notion of "white skin privilege" as a means of ruling class social control could not be more different from today's self-serving cant about "white male privilege."

But today let us toast to the 130th birthday of Hubert Harrison. Here's to the resurrection of historical memory!

See also, on my web site:

Black / African-American / African Atheism

African American / Black autodidacticism, intellectual life, education: bibliography

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