Sunday, January 16, 2011

Hubert Harrison

On Monday, Martin Luther King Day, there's an event scheduled at Left Bank Books in Manhattan that I can't but wish I could get to. It's a talk by author Jeffrey B. Perry on the life and work of Hubert Harrison.

Harrison, termed "a genius buried by history" in the event's title, was a leading leftist radical in the early 1900s, an intellectual and activist, an important figure in Harlem and beyond. I know of him because when I was writing my first (lamentably unpublished) novel, and was doing research for a chapter that takes place in 1913 and involves the great Paterson silk strike of that year, I came across his name. Harrison was one of the speakers at a major strike rally, and I ended up writing about that, and a bit about him, in that chapter.

Until I saw the flier for Monday's talk, I did not know of Jeffrey B. Perry's book Hubert Harrison: The Voice of Harlem Radicalism, 1883-1918. I'm bummed that I can't get to his MLK Day talk but I'm so excited to learn about this book, and I'm going to get it and read it as soon as I can.