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By Leonard Harris

Alain L. Locke (1886-1954), in his well-known 1925 anthology The New Negro, declared that “the pulse of the Negro global has began to overcome in Harlem.” referred to as the daddy of the Harlem Renaissance, Locke had his finger at once on that pulse, selling, influencing, and sparring with such figures as Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, Jacob Lawrence, Richmond Barthé, William supply nonetheless, Booker T. Washington, W. E. B. Du Bois, Ralph Bunche, and John Dewey. The long-awaited first biography of this terribly talented thinker and author, Alain L. Locke narrates the untold tale of his profound impression on twentieth-century America’s cultural and highbrow life.

 
Leonard Harris and Charles Molesworth hint this tale via Locke’s Philadelphia upbringing, his undergraduate years at Harvard—where William James helped spark his influential engagement with pragmatism—and his tenure because the first African American Rhodes pupil. the center in their narrative illuminates Locke’s heady years in Twenties long island urban and his forty-year occupation at Howard collage, the place he helped spearhead the grownup schooling circulation of the Thirties and wrote on subject matters starting from the philosophy of worth to the speculation of democracy. Harris and Molesworth convey that all through this illustrious career—despite a proper demeanour that many observers interpreted as elitist or distant—Locke remained a hot and powerful instructor and mentor, in addition to a fierce champion of literature and paintings as technique of breaking down boundaries among communities.

 
The multifaceted portrait that emerges from this enticing account successfully reclaims Locke’s rightful position within the pantheon of America’s most vital minds.

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Extra info for Alain L. Locke: The Biography of a Philosopher

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The exam question also strongly implies that it is the philosophy of individualism that will give the issues their purchase. ” In one of his final exams, he writes out an argument that seeks to overcome the fact/value split by positing a “higher” unity that is a version of an ideal form. Eventually Locke would become dissatisfied with this approach, preferring instead the pluralism of James and yet later that of Dewey to the idealism of Santayana and Royce. 10 Some of the seeds of Jamesian pragmatism can be detected in an answer Locke wrote for his mid-year exam in Royce’s Philosophy 9, just about one year later than the Philosophy 4 exam: Experience .

Du Bois (who was the first African American to Harvard 29 earn a doctorate at Harvard), and it was his formulation of the notion of the “talented tenth” that articulated the experience of both Greener and Locke. This phrase, and its many expectations, worked its way into Locke’s conscious and unconscious images of himself, not only as a gifted student but as a would-be leader of his race. Greener went on to become a member of the bar and a diplomat and thereby one of the representative educated African Americans of his day.

In the opening decade of the twentieth century the college could be seen as one of the birthplaces of modern culture, considering the influence of figures such as Oliver Wendell Holmes, William James, George Santayana, and T. S. Eliot. For Locke to make his mark in such sterling company he would have to transform his outlook, but it was a task he set himself without flinching. His letters home are almost completely free of anxiety; indeed, he seems to the manor born in the way he was able to take full advantage of the literary and cultural life that the college abundantly supplied.

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