The New Negro
Earn by promoting books
Earn money by sharing your favorite books through our Affiliate program.Become an affiliate
About the Author
Alain Locke (1885-1954) was an African American philosopher, scholar, educator, and patron of the arts. Born in Philadelphia, Locke was raised the only child of Pliny Ishmael and Mary Locke. His father was the first black employee of the United States Postal Service, and his mother was a teacher. He excelled at Central High School before enrolling at Harvard University in 1907, where he was made a member of the Phi Beta Kappa Society, was awarded the Bowdoin prize, and became the first African American recipient of the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship. He attended Hertford College at Oxford, overcoming several rejections from other schools attached to the university to study literature, philosophy, Greek, and Latin. After four years as an assistant professor at Howard University, Locke returned to Harvard to complete his doctoral dissertation on the nature of social values. Back at Howard, he worked as the chair of the philosophy department and advocated for equal pay for black and white faculty, which ultimately led to his dismissal in 1925. That same year, he expanded an issue of Survey Graphic, a sociopolitical magazine, into The New Negro, a groundbreaking anthology of writing from Countee Cullen, Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, Jean Toomer, and himself. The New Negro would become a foundational text of the Harlem Renaissance, establishing Locke's reputation as a leading voice on African American arts and culture and a figurehead of the movement. He regained his position at Howard University in 1928, teaching generations of philosophy students until his retirement in 1953. Due to his race and homosexuality, Locke has been long overlooked by scholars and the public at large.