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Daniel Donaghy

cultural critic, philosopher, and author of the influential texts Negro Art: Past and Present (1936) and The Negro in Art (1940). Born in Philadelphia, Alain Leroy Locke was the only child of Pliny Ishmael and Mary Hawkins Locke. He attended Central High School and the Philadelphia School of Pedagogy before enrolling at Harvard College in 1904 as a philosophy major, where he studied with some of the country's most celebrated philosophers including Josiah Royce, George Santayana, Hugo Munsterberg, and William James. An excellent student, Locke was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and named the first black Rhodes Scholar in 1907. From 1907 to 1910, he studied at Hertford College, Oxford University, and for the 1910–1911 academic year he studied the work of the philosophers Franz Brentano, Alexius von Meinong, and Christian von Ehrenfels at ...

Article

Richard A. Long

Alain Locke's role as a general factotum of the Harlem Renaissance has tended to overshadow the full dimensions of an active and productive life. John Edgar Tidwell and John Wright list more than three hundred items spanning the period from 1904 to 1953 in “Alain Locke: A Comprehensive Bibliography of His Published Writings” (Callaloo, Feb.–Oct., 1981). Born in (or near) Philadelphia to parents who were school-teachers, Locke came to maturity in the self-conscious genteel ambiance of Philadelphia's black elite. After completing secondary and normal school studies in Philadelphia, he went to Harvard College, where he majored in philosophy. An appointment as a Rhodes scholar in 1907 followed his undergraduate Harvard experience and he spent time at both Oxford and the University of Berlin, returning to the United States in 1911 Shortly after he began his long career as a teacher at Howard University He received his ...

Article

Peter Fraser

One of the most influential figures in promoting the intellectual and artistic life of the Black diaspora during the first half of the 20th century. He was especially interested in the visual arts but also encouraged black dramatists.

Locke was born in Philadelphia, graduated from Harvard University in 1907, and then attended Oxford University from 1907 to 1910 as the first black Rhodes Scholar. He then did advanced work in philosophy in Berlin before returning to the United States. He joined Howard University in 1912, only leaving to do his doctorate at Harvard. He then stayed at Howard until his retirement in 1952. He was the chief ideologue of the Harlem Renaissance and edited the influential anthology The New Negro (1925 in which he tried to lay out a cultural programme that would provide for African Americans a cultural and artistic life comparable to that ...

Article

Lisa Clayton Robinson

In his introduction to Alain Locke: Reflections on a Modern Renaissance Man, Russell J. Linnemann points out that although Alain Locke was trained as a philosopher at Harvard, Oxford, and Berlin Universities, “anthropology, art, music, literature, education, political theory, sociology, and African studies represent only a few of his wide range of intellectual pursuits.” Linnemann goes on to hypothesize that this extraordinary breadth of intellectual activity is “the primary reason why a biography of him has not yet been written … few if any potential biographers who might wish to examine the scope of his thought, assess his often provocative contributions, and place them within the context of the appropriate disciplines, would have the intellectual breadth or depth to fulfill the task properly.” The title of Linnemann's edited volume gets to the heart of Alain Locke's legacy: While he is often best remembered for his role in the Harlem ...