Peter Hulme

Peter Hulme

Emeritus Professor of Literature at the University of Essex
Fall 2018: Stuart Hall Fellow
Peter Hulme
Peter Hulme is Emeritus Professor in Literature at the University of Essex, where he taught for 40 years.  His most recent book, The Dinner at Gonfarone’s: Salomón de la Selva in Nueva York, 1915-1919  will be published in 2019 by Liverpool University Press.

As the Stuart Hall Fellow for Fall 2018, he will be at work on Wilfred A. Domingo: “One of the chief trouble-makers among the Negroes.”

The importance of Wilfred Domingo (1889-1968) as a twentieth-century black intellectual has never been doubted.  He first appears as a young member of the National Club in Kingston, Jamaica, where he met Marcus Garvey: he would then play an important role in helping Garvey establish himself in New York in 1916 and would become the first editor of Garvey’s newspaper, Negro World.  Domingo’s growing socialist commitments distanced him from Garvey and the pair fell out. Domingo was soon working as an associate editor on The Messenger, as well as establishing his own newspaper, The Emancipator, which – difficult of access – has had much less attention than it deserves.  In these years Domingo was also one of the founder members of the African Blood Brotherhood.  Always a stylish and well-informed writer, he was commissioned by Alain Locke to write about the considerable West Indian presence in New York for the landmark March 1925 issue of Survey Graphic, “Harlem: Mecca of the New Negro”, an essay reprinted as “Gift of the Black Tropics” in Locke’s The New Negro.  Domingo therefore has his place within the Harlem Renaissance.

Domingo’s continuing commitment to the independence of his home island became apparent in 1936 when he joined his compatriots W. Adolphe Roberts and Ethelred Brown in forming the Jamaica Progressive League, based in New York.  It was then Domingo, on the ground in Jamaica in 1938-39, who negotiated the relationship of the JPL with the newly-founded People’s National Party, edging Norman Manley closer to an independence platform, all the while analysing and explaining the Jamaican situation in a brilliant series of essays for the new journal, Public Opinion.  Fearful of his growing influence, the British colonial authorities interned him for nearly two years during the war.  Domingo’s last major intervention came in the late 1950s and 1960s when he wrote against the Caribbean Federation from a nationalist standpoint.

My research project aims to collect, annotate, and contextualise Wilfred Domingo’s writings, so enabling the first full assessment of his contributions to the political and intellectual worlds of New York and Jamaica.  In the absence of extant personal papers, his extensive journalistic writings constitute the main source, although his correspondence with figures such as Locke, Du Bois, and Manley will also help paint a broader picture, as will his bulky FBI file.