The Legal Politics of Hubert H. Harrison: Excavating a Lost Legacy
20 Pages Posted: 29 Jul 2012
Date Written: July 23, 2012
Critical race theorists (CRT) have cogently argued the need for anti-racist struggles in the post-civil rights era to address the fact that integration has hardly resolved the continued marginalization and discrimination of African Americans in housing, employment, and many other dimensions and to reflect on how law facilitates racial subordination in the post-civil rights era. However, this Essay suggests that these arguments can be better understood and enriched by a deep appreciation of the breathtaking legacy of Hubert Henry Harrison (1883-1927) and a close reading of his works. As a working class activist and intellectual in both the Socialist Party and the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), Harrison was later a major influence in Marcus Garvey’s nationalist movement and the New Negro Movement, editor of The Voice and The Negro World, and the founder of the Liberty League. Largely lost to history, Harrison’s astonishing body of work on racism and the political issues of his time force us to rethink a period of African American history that typically has been regarded as a low point in the struggle against racism and white supremacy. Yet in fact, Harrison found answers to the questions that would haunt advocates of racial equality for years to come.
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