Alain Locke

Locke was The first African American Rhodes Scholar (1907)

Alain Locke photo

Alain LeRoy LockeAlain LeRoy Locke was born on Sept. 13, 1886, in Philadelphia PA. He was an American educator, writer, and philosopher, who is best remembered as a leader and chief interpreter of the Harlem Renaissance.

A humanist who was intensely concerned with aesthetics, Locke termed his philosophy “cultural pluralism” and emphasized the necessity of determining values to guide human conduct and interrelationships. Chief among these values was respect for the uniqueness of each personality, which can develop fully and remain unique only within a democratic ethos. Alain Locke passed away on June 9, 1954, in New York City.”

Locke, in his famous 1925 anthology The New Negro, declared:

…the pulse of the Negro world has begun to beat in Harlem.”

Often called the father of the Harlem Renaissance, Locke had his finger directly on that pulse, promoting, influencing, and sparring with such figures as Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, Jacob Lawrence, Richmond Barth’, William Grant Still, Booker T. Washington, and W. E. B. Du Bois

More about Locke’s work may be found in The New Negro: The Life of Alain Locke by Jeffrey C. Stewart (Feb 2018, Oxford University Press) Alain L. Locke: The Biography of a Philosopher by Leonard Harris, Charles Molesworth and The Works of Alain Locke edited by Charles Molesworth

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2 Books by Alain Locke