Locke, Alain Le Roy

Locke, Alain Le Roy

(1886–1954) teacher, editor, author; born in Philadelphia. He graduated from Harvard (B.A. 1907), and was the first African-American to attend Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar (B.Litt. 1910). He studied philosophy at the University of Berlin (1910–11) and attended lectures by Henri Bergson in Paris. Returning to America, he taught philosophy at Howard University (1912–17), gained his Ph.D. at Harvard (1918), and resumed his teaching career at Howard as professor of philosophy (1918–53). He first became known as the editor of The New Negro: An Interpretation (1925), an anthology of African-American writers associated with the Harlem Renaissance. He published other anthologies featuring the literary work of African-Americans, as well as books, essays, and reviews that were influential in defining African-Americans' distinctive traditions and culture and the role they might play in bringing blacks into mainstream American society. In The Negro and His Music (1936) he placed African-Americans' music into the spectrum of African and world folk music, while his Negro in Art (1941) was one of the first works to stress the influence of African art on modern Western painting and sculpture.