Alain Leroy Locke, a Bahá’í, “Dean” of the Harlem Renaissance (1919–34), chair of the Philosophy Department at Howard University, and the first African American Rhodes scholar (1907), will finally be laid to rest on September 13, 2014, at the Congressional Cemetery in Washington, DC. Locke was born in 1885 and died in 1954.
he was the first African American to win a Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford (where he wrote on the philosophy of value), he was a leader in the New Negro movement, and he produced a formative commentary on African American literature and the arts. He championed African art as a source of aesthetic inspiration, and his philosophical papers on cultural pluralism, democracy, and value theory influenced readers in diverse fields. He offered personal advice and support to dozens of writers, painters, singers, and others with artistic gifts and ambitions. In addition, he taught for four decades at Howard University in Washington, D.C., where he headed the philosophy department, founded the literary magazine and the theater company, and gathered the collection of African art that forms the core of the university’s holding in this field.
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