ONE HAS TO ADMIRE THEIR PERSISTENCE. Labor Notes, the flagship journal of the domestic labor Left, professes itself to be “the voice of union activists who want to put the movement back into the labor movement.” Though stylistically about as riveting as the phonebook, for more than three difficult decades Labor Notes has critically observed and recorded organized labor’s endemic corruption, democratic shortcomings, and gross ineptitude in organizing workers in the private sector, where today only 7.2 percent of Americans are unionized.
IT IS NO COINCIDENCE that there is a new English translation of Black Skin, White Masks (Peau Noire, Masques Blancs , hereafter BSWM), since in this first book, Frantz Fanon (1925–1961) himself believed that the fight against racism had nowhere found more succor than in the United States. Fanon poetically describes the shorn “curtain of the sky” over the battlefield after the Civil War that first reveals the monumental vision of a white man “hand in hand” with a black man (196).
THE NEW TRANSLATION AND REPUBLICATION of Theodor Adorno’s Philosophy of New Music is a further clarification of modernism, necessitated by the latest discontents with postmodernism’s vulgarization, which keeps it at a fictitious distance. Perhaps as his remedy for the most fragmented part of the whole of the arts, namely music, translator Robert Hullot-Kentor has in recent years been steadily reintroducing Adorno’s aesthetic philosophy to English readers.
ONCE ACCLAIMED BY FIGURES as diverse as Eugene O’Neill, Henry Miller, and A. Philip Randolph, but later forgotten, the West Indian radical Hubert Henry Harrison is enjoying renewed prominence as a result of Jeffrey B. Perry’s recent biography, Hubert Harrison: The Voice of Harlem Radicalism, 1883–1918, the first of two projected volumes. Perry’s achievement in resuscitating his long-forgotten subject should not be understated, for Harrison’s significance has been largely overlooked. For example, Harold Cruse’s The Crisis of the Negro Intellectual deals extensively with the radical West Indian Harlem milieu but mentions Harrison only briefly. Perry’s research, using many untapped primary sources including Harrison’s private diary, will likely remain definitive for a long time to come, at least as regards the man himself, from his reading habits and sexual conquests to his uncompromising radicalism.
IN 1926, HISTORIAN CARTER WOODSON inaugurated “Negro History Week.” Negro History Week bred Black History Month, and Black History Month bred the many diverse “Heritage” months of our American calendar: Women’s History Month, Asian Pacific Heritage Month, Hispanic Heritage Month, and American Indian Heritage Month, to pick just a few. But along the way, the justification for studying history changed.