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Hulme, Peter

Hulme, Peter

Emeritus Professor @ University of Essex


Peter Hulme is Emeritus Professor at the University of Essex, where he taught for 40 years. His books include 'Colonial Encounters: Europe and the Native Caribbean, 1492-1797' (1986); 'Remnants of Conquest: The Caribs and Their Visitors, 1877-1998' (2000); 'Cuba's Wild East: A Literary Geography of Oriente' (2011); and 'The Dinner at Gonfarone's: Salomon de la Selva's Pan-American Project in Nueva York, 1915-1919' (2019). He is currently working on the political and cultural relationships between Harlem, the Caribbean, and Mexico in the 1920s.

Geographical location : Essex, UK

Research Area and Interest : political and cultural relationships between Harlem, the Caribbean, and Mexico in the 1920s

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Opportunity Knocks for the Caribbean


Casper Holstein, Numbers in Harlem, and the Virgin Islands
Summary: Caribbean writers and issues were always on the Harlem scene during the 1920s. In September 1920 'The Crisis' had a special issue on Haiti, and in December 1925 the landmark publication 'The New Negro: An Interpretation' prominently featured Caribbean writers. Our panel focuses on the next major publication of this kind, the Caribbean issue of the journal 'Opportunity', published in November 1926. 'Opportunity' was the journal of the National Urban League, and the key figure for this issue was Eric Walrond, who had been the journal's business manager since August 1925. The general premise behind the panel is that a deep reading of a single issue of a journal--particularly an issue with a single focus--can reveal much about the actual, historical and contemporaneous, concerns of that moment. In 1926 the USA was still occupying Haiti, a situation to which 'Opportunity' often paid attention. On this occasion, however, the focus was the US Virgin Islands, purchased from Denmark in 1917. Although Jamaicans made up the majority of West Indians in New York, there had been a significant Virgin Islands community since well before the purchase, including the prominent intellectual Hubert Harrison. In this case the concerns of Virgin Islanders were articulated by Casper Holstein, originally from St Thomas, one of the most intriguing of Harlem figures in the 1920s on account of his combination of political activism, invention of the numbers game, which brought him great wealth, and his sponsorship with that wealth of 'Opportunity's literary competitions.

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