Americas First Black Socialist: The Radical Life of Peter H. by Nikki M. Taylor

By Nikki M. Taylor

In pursuit of his most efficient target, complete and equivalent citizenship for African americans, Peter Humphries Clark (1829--1925) defied effortless type. He was once, at a variety of occasions, the country's first black socialist, a devoted supporter of the Republican social gathering, and an recommend for the Democrats. A pioneer academic activist, Clark led the struggle for African american citizens' entry to Ohio's public faculties and have become the 1st black critical within the kingdom. He supported all-black colleges and staunchly defended them even after the tide grew to become towards desegregation. As a political candidate, highbrow, educator, and activist, Clark used to be advanced and enigmatic.

Though Clark motivated a new release of abolitionists and civil rights activists, he's almost forgotten this day. America's First Black Socialist attracts upon speeches, correspondence, and out of doors statement to supply a balanced account of this ignored and misunderstood determine. Charting Clark's altering allegiances and ideologies from the antebellum period throughout the Nineteen Twenties, this complete biography illuminates the existence and legacy of an enormous activist whereas additionally highlighting the black radical culture that helped democratize

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46 It is not inconsequential that Clark’s first teacher was an antislavery activist. If nothing else, as he learned to recognize his letters and how to read, he also got a lesson in abolitionism. Clark not only attended elementary school throughout his childhood, but also belonged to an even smaller number of African Americans with the added privilege of attending high school. He attended Cincinnati High School, the first high school for African Americans in the state, established in 1844 through the beneficence of Hiram S.

Together, the philosophies of Owen and Fourier laid the foundation of early socialist thought and practice. Cincinnatians were particularly receptive Launching a Life 31 to socialist ideas; in fact, the city was well-known as an Owenite and Fourierist stronghold in the mid-nineteenth century. 56 Gilmore, along with John O. Wattles and John P. Cornell—two men who frequently joined him in Fourierist projects—formed an organization called the Universal Brotherhood, which hosted weekly Spiritual meetings and lectures at either the Kemble Street Chapel or the Unitarian Church.

Despite the obstacles, Clark decided to pursue printing. 72 In all likelihood, Gilmore introduced Clark to Varney. After all, Gilmore associated with a community of freethinkers and radicals like the Owenites Thomas Varney and his wife, Maria, who experimented with ideas as far-reaching as communism, land reform, feminism, and anarchism. The Varneys, like many early American socialists, actually supported a number of socialist projects, sometimes even simultaneously. 73 Moreover, the couple Launching a Life 35 Meeting in the Cincinnati AME Church (Allen Temple), April 30, 1853.

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