Alain L. Locke: The Biography of a Philosopher
Alain L. Locke (1886-1954), in his famous 1925 anthology TheNew Negro, declared that “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 Barthé, William Grant Still, Booker T. Washington, W. E. B. Du Bois, Ralph Bunche, and John Dewey. The long-awaited first biography of this extraordinarily gifted philosopher and writer, Alain L. Locke narrates the untold story of his profound impact on twentieth-century America’s cultural and intellectual life. Leonard Harris and Charles Molesworth trace this story through Locke’s Philadelphia upbringing, his undergraduate years at Harvard—where William James helped spark his influential engagement with pragmatism—and his tenure as the first African American Rhodes Scholar. The heart of their narrative illuminates Locke’s heady years in 1920s New York City and his forty-year career at Howard University, where he helped spearhead the adult education movement of the 1930s and wrote on topics ranging from the philosophy of value to the theory of democracy. Harris and Molesworth show that throughout this illustrious career—despite a formal manner that many observers interpreted as elitist or distant—Locke remained a warm and effective teacher and mentor, as well as a fierce champion of literature and art as means of breaking down barriers between communities. The multifaceted portrait that emerges from this engaging account effectively reclaims Locke’s rightful place in the pantheon of America’s most important minds.
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Alain Leroy Locke was born in Philadelphia on September 3, 1885. His parents
had not decided upon a name beforehand. Pliny Locke, his father, wanted any
name but Pliny. He had lived with this Roman distinction, and perhaps he felt ...
This esteem for education permeated the atmosphere in the Lockes' Philadelphia
home. In addition to their vocation as teachers, Locke's parents took pride in
being freeborn blacks as opposed to freed slaves. This pride was transmitted to ...
Du Bois also tartly observed that Philadelphia had been plagued by “the slow
advance, if not 'actual retrogression,' of the Negro since the Civil War.”5 Pliny
almost certainly met his wife in Philadelphia, where Mary Hawkins was working
as a ...
This may have been for a school project, or it may have been an exercise of
family pride—an exploration of the earlier days of Philadelphia's educated black
community. He remembered the activity fondly, and the resultant sense of
For the primary grades, Locke attended the Charles Close School, at Seventh
and Dickinson Streets in Philadelphia. Mary Locke taught at this school before,
during, and after Locke was a student there, from 1886 to 1903, then joining Mt.
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Alain L. Locke: biography of a philosopherUser Review - Not Available - Book Verdict
Harris (philosophy, Purdue Univ.) and Molesworth (English, Queen's Coll.) recount the life and works of the pragmatic philosopher and black leader Alain Locke. A graduate of Harvard, the first African ... Read full review
Sahdji to the Bronze Booklets
9 The Educator at Work and at Large
10 Theorizing Democracy
11 The Final Years
12 Lockes Legacy