Alain LeRoy Locke

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Alain Leroy Locke (September 13, 1886 – June 9, 1954) was an American writer, philosopher, educator, and patron of the arts. He was the first African American Rhodes Scholar in 1907. Locke was called the "godfather" of the Harlem Renaissance. As a result, popular listings of influential African-Americans have repeatedly included him. On March 19, 1968, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said: "We're going to let our children know that the only philosophers that lived were not Plato and Aristotle, but W. E. B. Du Bois and Alain Locke came through the universe."[1]

Early career[change | change source]

Locke was born on September 13, 1886 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.[2] His parents were both schoolteachers. He was a graduate of Central High School and the Philadelphia School of Pedagogy. He was a member of the Harvard University of 1908. However, he graduated (magna cum laude) after only three years in 1907. In 1912 he won a Rhodes Scholarship which he used to attend Oxford University.[2] He also studied for a year at the Frederick William University of Berlin.[2] In 1918 he received his Ph.D. from Harvard.[2]

Career[change | change source]

He began teaching at Howard University where he remained until 1953.[2] He retired because of heart problems. Locke died on June 9, 1954 in New York City.[2] His last work was an unfinished book, The Negro in American Culture. It was finished and published in 1956 by his daughter, Margaret Just Butcher.[2]

References[change | change source]

  1. Cone, James H. (2000). Risks of Faith: The Emergence of a Black Theology of Liberation, 1968-1998. Beacon Press. p. 152. ISBN 978-0-8070-0951-2.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 Blacks at Harvard: A Documentary History of African-American Experience at Harvard and Radcliffe, eds. Werner Sollors; Caldwell Titcomb; Thomas A. Underwood (New York: New York University Press, 1993), p. 129

Other websites[change | change source]