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Alain LeRoy Locke Biography

Locke publicized the Harlem Renaissance to a broad audience. Locke expired in nyc on June 9, 1954. Alain LeRoy Locke was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on September 13, 1886, to dad Pliny Ishmael and mom Mary Hawkins Locke. A talented pupil, Locke graduated from Philadelphia’s Central High School second in his course in 1902.

Despite his mind and clear ability, Locke confronted considerable obstacles as an African American. Though the gifted student was chosen as the primary African American Rhodes Scholar, Locke was denied entry to a number of schools in the University of Oxford due to his race. Locke eventually obtained entrance into Hertford College, where he studied from 1907 to 1910. Locke additionally studied philosophy in the University of Berlin during his years abroad. Alain Locke taught English at Howard University before returning to Harvard to finish his graduate studies. Locke finished his dissertation, “The issue of Categorization in the Theory of Value,” in 1918, graduating using a doctorate in Philosophy. Locke died on June 9, 1954, in nyc, after suffering from heart problems for a while.

Locke promoted African American artists and writers, motivating them to look to Africa for artistic inspiration. Writer Zora Neale Hurston received major support from Locke. Author Zora also reviewed the work of African American scholars in the pages of the periodicals Chance and Phylon, and released work on African American art, theatre, poetry and music.

Much of Locke’s writing focused on African and African American identity. His assortment of writing and illustrations, The New Negro, was printed in 1925 and instantly became a classic. Locke also released pieces about the Harlem Renaissance, conveying the energy and possibility of Harlem culture to a broad audience of both black and white readers. For his part in developing the movement, Locke continues to be dubbed the “Daddy of the Harlem Renaissance.” His views on African American intellectual and cultural life differed sharply from those of other Harlem Renaissance leaders, nevertheless, including W.E.B. Du Bois (who was also a buddy of Locke’s). While Du Bois believed that African American artists should aim to uplift their race, Locke claimed the artist’s duty was mostly to himself or herself. His philosophical writings encouraged pluralism, cultural relativism and self expression.

Alain LeRoy Locke Biography