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Alain LeRoy Locke facts for kids

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Alain Locke, painting by Betsy Graves Reyneau

Alain Leroy Locke (September 13, 1886 – June 9, 1954) was an American writer, philosopher, educator, and patron of the arts. He was the first African American Rhodes Scholar in 1907. Locke was called the "godfather" of the Harlem Renaissance. As a result, popular listings of influential African-Americans have repeatedly included him. On March 19, 1968, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said: "We're going to let our children know that the only philosophers that lived were not Plato and Aristotle, but W. E. B. Du Bois and Alain Locke came through the universe."

Early career

Locke was born on September 13, 1886 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. His parents were both schoolteachers. He was a graduate of Central High School and the Philadelphia School of Pedagogy. He was a member of the Harvard University of 1908. However, he graduated (magna cum laude) after only three years in 1907. In 1912 he won a Rhodes Scholarship which he used to attend Oxford University. He also studied for a year at the Frederick William University of Berlin. In 1918 he received his Ph.D. from Harvard.

Career

Locke began teaching the first classes on race relations at Howard University. After working to gain equal pay for African-American and white faculty at the university, he was dismissed in 1925.

Following the appointment in 1926 of Mordecai W. Johnson, the first African-American president of Howard, Locke was reinstated in 1928 at the university. Beginning in 1935, he returned to philosophy as a topic of his writing. He continued to teach generations of students at Howard until he retired in 1953. Locke Hall, on the Howard campus, is named in his honor.

Among his prominent former students is actor Ossie Davis, who said that Locke encouraged him to go to Harlem because of his interest in theatre. And he did. continued to teach generations of students at Howard until he retired in 1953. Locke Hall, on the Howard campus, is named in his honor. Among his prominent former students is actor Ossie Davis, who said that Locke encouraged him to go to Harlem because of his interest in theatre. And he did.

In addition to teaching philosophy, Locke promoted African-American artists, writers, and musicians. He encouraged them to explore Africa and its many cultures as inspiration for their works. He encouraged them to depict African and African-American subjects, and to draw on their history for subject material. The library resources built up by Dorothy B. Porter to support these studies included materials which he donated from his travels and contacts.

Locke retired because of heart problems.

Death

Locke died on June 9, 1954 in New York City. His last work was an unfinished book, The Negro in American Culture. It was finished and published in 1956 by his daughter, Margaret Just Butcher.

Influence, legacy and honors

  • At Howard University, the main building for the College of Arts and Sciences is dedicated to his legacy, and was named "Alain Locke Hall." His personal and literary papers are held within the manuscript department in the university's Moorland-Spingarn Research Center.
  • Locke's former residence on R Street NW in Washington's Logan Circle neighborhood is marked with a historical plaque.
  • In 2002, scholar Molefi Kete Asante listed Locke among his 100 Greatest African Americans. Similarly, Columbus Salley's book, The Black 100, included Locke, ranking him as the 36th most influential African-American.
  • In 2019, Jeffrey Stewart won a Pulitzer Prize in Biography for The New Negro: the Life of Alain Locke.
  • In 2020, Rhodes Scholar and attorney Dr. Ann Olivarius wrote a guest column in The Financial Times suggesting that statues of Locke and Zambian civil-rights activist Lucy Banda-Sichone replace the statue of Cecil Rhodes at Oriel College, Oxford University.

Schools named after Locke include:

  • Alain L. Locke Elementary School PS 208 in South Harlem
  • The Locke High School in Los Angeles
  • The Alain Locke Public School, an elementary school in West Philadelphia
  • Alain Locke Charter Academy in Chicago
  • Alain Locke Elementary School in Gary, Indiana

Images for kids

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Alain LeRoy Locke para niños

Black History Month on Kiddle
Famous African-American Activists:
William L. Dawson
Claudette Colvin
W. E. B. Du Bois
Anna J. Cooper
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