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America's First Black SocialistThe Radical Life of Peter H. Clark$
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Nikki M. Taylor

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780813140773

Published to Kentucky Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.5810/kentucky/9780813140773.001.0001

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Radical Voice

Radical Voice

(p.130) Chapter Six Radical Voice
America's First Black Socialist

Nikki M. Taylor

University Press of Kentucky

This chapter covers Clark’s socialist political career as a member of the Sovereigns of Industry, Socialistic Workingmen’s Party, and the Socialistic Labor Party in the mid to late 1870s. It includes a deep critical analysis of his socialist lectures and activities in that period. Contrary to the historical consensus, Clark never tried to make the socialist movement responsive to the economic or political needs of African- American laborers. This chapter demonstrates that Socialism offered his first real chance at elected political office. Although he never won, his attempts greatly increased his thirst for personal political power.

Keywords:   Labor unions, Working-class, Socialism, cooperatives, William Haller, Workingmen’s Party, Great Railroad Strike, Patronage, Socialistic Labor Party, Political power, Marxism

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