Alain LeRoy Locke, philosopher, writer, and educator, was born on this date, September 13, 1886, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Locke went to Harvard and was the first African American to win the Rhodes Scholarship. He went to Oxford University for philosophy and received his doctorate from Harvard in 1918. Locke then became a professor of philosophy and literature at Howard University. Throughout his life, Locke encouraged African American artists and writers such as Zora Neale Hurston. Locke also wrote about the African and African American experience and identity, and the Harlem Renaissance. He published “The New Negro” in 1925, an anthology of poetry, essays and fiction on African and African American art and literature, which contains the portrait of Alain LeRoy Locke by Winold Reiss pictured. Locke is known as “The Father of the Harlem Renaissance.”
Image: NYPL Digital Collections