Hubert Harrison: Black Griot of the Harlem Renaissance, By Brian Kwoba

We recommend your attention to this tribute to one of the lesser-known Black socialists and intellectuals. - Editor


The historical restoration of Hubert Henry Harrison (1883–1927) calls for a rethinking of the Black radical tradition in the early twentieth century. As a journalist, educator, and community organizer, this “Black Socrates” influenced a whole generation of Afro-diasporic intellectual and political innovation. Thanks to the decades-long and groundbreaking efforts of independent scholar Jeffrey B. Perry, a growing interest has emerged regarding the life and legacy of Harrison, whom A. Phillip Randolph called the “father of Harlem radicalism.” Because he remains such an under-appreciated figure, his recovery requires us to expand and reframe multiple histories—including that of the socialist left, the New Negro movement, Garveyism, and the “Harlem Renaissance”—that have marginalized him. Harrison had a critical impact on all of these social movements, and exploring his angle of vision illuminates previously invisible connections between them. . .

This article originally appeared in Black Perspectives, published by the African-American Intellectual History Society (7/8/2017) Photo: African American Humanist Society.

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