Alain LeRoy Locke

Alain LeRoy Locke

Infobox Person
name = Alain LeRoy Locke

caption =
birth_date = birth date|1886|9|13|mf=y
birth_place = Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
death_date = death date and age|1954|6|9|1886|9|13
death_place = New York City, U.S.

Alain LeRoy Locke (September 13, 1885 – June 9, 1954) was an American writer, philosopher, educator, and patron of the arts. He is best known for his writings on and about the Harlem Renaissance. He is unofficially called the "Father of the Harlem Renaissance." His philosophy served as a strong motivating force in keeping the energy and passion of the Movement at the forefront. [cite web | author=Goldsmith, James | title=Alain Locke | work=Planet Bahá'í | url= | accessdate=October 25 | accessyear=2006 ]


Alain Locke was born in Pennsylvania on September 13, 1885 to Pliny Locke (1850-1892) and Mary Hawkins Locke (1853 - 1922). He gave his year of birth as "1886," and many sources give the wrong year. He was, however, born in 1885; it is not clear why exactly he changed the year. In 1902, he graduated from Central High School in Philadelphia, second in his class. He also attended Philadelphia School of Pedagogy [ [ Alain Leroy Locke ] ] . In 1907, Locke graduated from Harvard University with degrees in English and philosophy. He was the first African American Rhodes Scholar. He formed part of the Phi Beta Kappa society. Locke was denied admission to several Oxford colleges because of his skin color before finally being admitted to Hertford College, where he studied literature, philosophy, Greek, and Latin, from 1907-1910. In 1910, he attended the University of Berlin, where he studied philosophy. Locke attended the College de France in Paris in 1911.

Locke received an assistant professorship in English at Howard University, in Washington, D.C. There he interacted with W.E.B. Du Bois and Carter Woodson, who helped develop his philosophy.

Locke returned to Harvard in 1916 to work on his doctoral dissertation, "The Problem of Classification in the Theory of Value". In his thesis, he discusses the causes of opinions and social biases, and that these are not objectively true or false, and therefore not universal. Locke received his Ph.D. in philosophy in 1918. Locke returned to Howard University as the chair of the department of philosophy, a position he held until his retirement in 1953. At Howard, he became a distinguished member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc.

Locke promoted African American artists, writers, and musicians, encouraging them to look to Africa as an inspiration for their works. He encouraged them to depict African and African American subjects, and to draw on their history for subject material. Locke edited the March 1925 issue of the periodical "Survey Graphic", a special on Harlem and the Harlem Renaissance, which helped educate white readers about the flourishing culture there. Later that year, he expanded the issue into "The New Negro", a collection of writings by African Americans, which would become one of his best known works. His philosophy of the New Negro was grounded in the concept of race-building. Its most important component is overall awareness of the potential black equality; No longer would blacks allow themselves to adjust themselves or comply with unreasonable white requests. This idea was based on self-confidence and political awareness. Although in the past the laws regarding equality had been ignored without concequence, Locke's philosophical idea of The New Negro allowed for real fair treatment. Because this was just an idea and not an actual bylaw, its power was held in the people. If they wanted this idea to flourish, they were the ones who would need to "enforce" it through their actions and overall points of view. Locke has been said to have greatly influenced and encouraged Zora Neale Hurston.

Major works

In addition to the books listed below, Locke edited the "Bronze Booklet" series, a set of eight volumes published by Associates in Negro Folk Education in the 1930s. He also reviewed literature written by African Americans in journals such as "" and "Phylon".

His works include:
* "The New Negro" (New York: Albert and Charles Boni, 1925)
* "Four Negro Poets" (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1927)
* "Plays of Negro Life: a Source-Book of Native American Drama" (New York: Harper and Brothers, 1927)
* "A Decade of Negro Self-Expression" (Charlottesville, VA, 1928)
* "The Negro in America" (Chicago: American Library Association, 1933)
* "Negro Art - Past and Present" (Washington, D.C.: Associates in Negro Folk Education, 1936)
* "The Negro and His Music" (Washington, D.C.: Associates in Negro Folk Education, 1936)
* "The Negro in Art: A Pictorial Record of the Negro Artist and of the Negro Theme in Art" (Washington, D.C.: Associates in Negro Folk Education, 1940)
* "When Peoples Meet: A Study in Race and Culture Contacts" (New York: Committee on Workshops, Progressive Education Association, 1942)
* Locke, Alain. “A Collection of Congo Art.” Arts 2 (February 1927), pp. 60-70.
* “Harlem: Dark Weather-vane.” Survey Graphic 25 (August 1936), pp. 457-462, 493-495.
* “The Negro and the American Stage.” Theatre Arts Monthly 10 (February 1926): 112-120.
* “The Negro in Art.” Christian Education 13 (November 1931), pp. 210-220.
* “Negro Speaks for Himself.” The Survey 52 (April 15, 1924), pp. 71-72.
* “The Negro’s Contribution to American Art and Literature.” The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 140 (November 1928): 234-247.
* “The Negro’s Contribution to American Culture.” Journal of Negro Education 8 (July 1939), pp. 521-529.
* “A Note on African Art.” Opportunity 2 (May 1924), pp. 134-138.
* “Our Little Renaissance.” Ebony and Topaz, edited by Charles S. Johnson. New York: National Urban League, 1927.
* “Steps Towards the Negro Theatre.” Crisis 25 (December 1922), pp. 66-68.
* Du Bois, W.E.B. “The Younger Literary Movement.” Crisis 28 (February 1924), pp. 161-163.
*Margaret J. Butcher's "The Negro in American Culture" (1956) was written with materials left by Locke.

Religious beliefs

Locke was a member of the Bahá'í Faith and declared his belief in Bahá'u'lláh in 1918. It was common to write to `Abdu'l-Bahá to declare one's new faith, and Locke received a letter, or "tablet", from `Abdu'l-Bahá in return. When `Abdu'l-Bahá died in 1921, Locke enjoyed a close relationship with Shoghi Effendi, the Guardian of the Bahá'í Faith. Although we do not know how much of his philosophy was influenced by the Bahá'í Faith, one can certainly see many similarities and themes that they share. Shoghi Effendi is reported to have said to Locke, "People as you, Mr. Gregory, Dr. Esslemont and some other dear souls are as rare as diamond." [ [,M1 Alain Lock - Faith and Philosophy] , by Dr. Christopher Buck, Studies in Bábí and Bahá'í Religions, Vol 18, Anthony E. Lee General Editor, p.64 - ISBN 9781890688387]


Schools named after Alain Locke
* The Locke High School in Los Angeles.
* The Alain Locke Public School is an elementary school in West Philadelphia.
* Alain Locke Charter Academy in Chicago.
* Alain Locke Elementary School in Gary,Indiana
* Locke Hall at Howard University in Washington, D.C.

Additional Reading

* Christopher Buck. "Alain Locke: Faith and Philosophy." Los Angeles: Kalimat Press, 2005. .
* ———. "Alain Locke: Race Leader, Social Philosopher, Bahá’í Pluralist." World Order 36.3 (2005): 7–36. .
* ———. "Alain Locke in His Own Words: Three Essays." World Order 36.3 (2005): 37–48. (Previously unpublished essays: "The Gospel for the Twentieth Century" (39–42); "Peace between Black and White in the United States" (42–45); "Five Phases of Democracy" (45–48).
* ———. "Alain Locke." American Writers: A Collection of Literary Biographies. Supplement XIV. Edited by Jay Parini. Farmington Hills, MI: Scribner’s Reference/The Gale Group, 2004. Pp. 195–219. Freely available at "Gale Schools Black History Month Biographies" .
* Clare Bloodgood Crane. "Alain Locke and the Negro Renaissance." (Thesis) University of California, San Diego, 1971.
* Chielozona Eze. "The Dilemma of Ethnic Identity: Alain Locke’s Vision of Transcultural Societies." Lewiston, NY: Edwin Mellen Press, 2005.
* Leonard Harris, ed. "The Philosophy of Alain Locke: Harlem Renaissance and Beyond." Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1989.
* Leonard Harris, ed. "The Critical Pragmatism of Alain Locke: A Reader on Value Theory, Aesthetics, Community, Culture, Race, and Education." Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 1999.
* Russell J. Linnemann, ed. "Alain Locke: Reflections on a Modern Renaissance Man." Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1982.
* Johnny Washington. "Alain Locke and Philosophy: A Quest for Cultural Pluralism." Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1986.
* Johhny Washington. "A Journey into the Philosophy of Alain Locke." Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1994.


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  • Alain LeRoy Locke — Alain Locke Alain Locke Activité(s) philosophe, essayiste, professeur Naissance 13 septembre 1885 Philadelphie Décès 9 juin 1954 (à 68 ans) New York Langue d écriture Anglais américain …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Alain L. Locke — Alain Locke Alain Locke Activité(s) philosophe, essayiste, professeur Naissance 13 septembre 1885 Philadelphie Décès 9 juin 1954 (à 68 ans) New York Langue d écriture Anglais américain …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Locke,Alain LeRoy — Locke (lŏk), Alain LeRoy. 1886 1954. American educator and writer who was a leader of the Harlem Renaissance. His works include Four Negro Poets (1927) and Negro Art: Past and Present (1936). * * * …   Universalium

  • Alain Locke — Activités philosophe, essayiste, professeur Naissance 13 septembre 1885 Philadelphie Décès 9&# …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Locke (surname) — Locke is a common Western surname of English origin, and may refer to: *Alain LeRoy Locke (1885–1954), African American educator, writer, and philosopher. *David Ross Locke (1833–1888), American journalist and humourist, also known by the… …   Wikipedia

  • Locke High School — Infobox School name =Alain Leroy Locke High School motto = established = type =Public affiliation = district =Los Angeles Unified School District grades =9 12 president = principal = Travis Kiel head of school = dean = faculty = staff = students …   Wikipedia

  • Locke —  Cette page d’homonymie répertorie des personnes (réelles ou fictives) partageant un même patronyme. Sommaire 1 Patronyme 1.1 Liste des Locke …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Locke — noun English empiricist philosopher who believed that all knowledge is derived from sensory experience (1632 1704) • Syn: ↑John Locke • Instance Hypernyms: ↑philosopher * * * /lok/, n. 1. Alain LeRoy /al in leuh roy , lee roy/, 1886 1954, U.S.… …   Useful english dictionary

  • Locke — /lok/, n. 1. Alain LeRoy /al in leuh roy , lee roy/, 1886 1954, U.S. educator and author. 2. David Ross ( Petroleum V. Nasby ), 1833 88, U.S. humorist and journalist. 3. John, 1632 1704, English philosopher. * * * …   Universalium

  • Локк, Ален — Ален ЛеРой Локк англ. Alain LeRoy Locke …   Википедия

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