Compiled By NAN Staff Writer
News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Tues. June 14, 2022: He was described by activist Asa Philip Randolph as “the father of Harlem radicalism” and by the historian Joel Augustus Rogers as “the foremost Afro-American intellect of his time.” John G. Jackson of American Atheists described him as “The Black Socrates.”
He was St. Croix-born West Indian American writer, orator, educator, critic, race and class-conscious political activist, and radical internationalist, Hubert Henry Harrison.
Harrison was born on April 27, 1883, in St. Croix and moved to the US at the age of 17. In 1912–14, he became the leading Black organizer in the Socialist Party of America. In 1917 he founded the Liberty League and The Voice, the first organization and the first newspaper of the race-conscious “New Negro” movement.
From his Liberty League and Voice came the core leadership of individuals and race-conscious program of the Garvey movement.
Harrison was a seminal and influential thinker who encouraged the development of class consciousness among working people, positive race consciousness among Black people, agnostic atheism, secular humanism, social progressivism, and freethought. Harrison profoundly influenced a generation of “New Negro” militants, including A. Philip Randolph, Chandler Owen, Marcus Garvey, Richard Benjamin Moore, W. A. Domingo, Williana Burroughs, and Cyril Briggs.
A sampling of his varied work and poetry appears in the edited collection A Hubert Harrison Reader (2001).
In 2005 Columbia University’s Rare Book and Manuscript Library acquired Harrison’s papers and the digitalized papers were made available through Columbia’s Digital Library Collections website in 2020.