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Locke, Alain (Leroy)

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Chambers Biographical Dictionary

1886-1954

US educationalist and critic

Born in Philadelphia, he graduated from Harvard and became the first black Rhodes scholar at Oxford (1907-10). Professor of philosophy at Howard University from 1917, he published numerous works that explored black culture in the USA and its African antecedents, notably The New Negro (1925), The Negro in America (1933) and The Negro in Art (1941). He was a leading figure in the Harlem Renaissance.

Alain Locke was a twentieth-century African American philosopher, educator, editor, and writer. Although he is best remembered for his influence on prominent writers of the Harlem Renaissance, Locke's impact on American culture extends beyond the literary realm. As a humanist and integrationist, he spoke not only in favor of an America that would learn to accept and respect cultural differences, but also in favor of a black American culture that would embrace and celebrate its African and folk roots. Born on September 13, 1886, Alain Leroy Locke was as the only child of Pliny Ishmael and Mary Hawkins Locke, both of whom were teachers. Raised in a family which was part of the black elite of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Locke placed a high value on education. After completing his studies at Central High School and the Philadelphia School of Pedagogy, he attended Harvard University where he majored in philosophy and was later elected to Phi Beta Kappa. In 1907, he graduated from Harva...    Continue Reading
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