Alain L. Locke: "The Biography of a Philosopher"

Leonard Harris and Charles Molesworth.
University of Chicago Press & Publisher's Weekly

The AARS Alain Locke Centenary Committee is pleased to note the recent publication of "Alain L. Locke: The Biography of a Philosohper" by Leonard Harris and Charles Molesworth. In September 2007, the AARS and Howard University sponsored a symposium to consider the life and achievements of Alain Locke, the first African-American Rhodes Scholar, on the centenary of his election from Pennsylvania. Dr. Leonard Harris, professor of philosophy at Purdue University, was the keynote speaker at the symposium.  For an excellent treatment of Locke's election and career at Oxford, take another look at Jack Zoeller's (New York & University 1972) article and Locke's two essays about life in Oxford featured in the TAO Spring 2007, Vol XCIV, No. 2.

Publishers Weekly,October 27th:

*Alain L. Locke: Biography of a Philosopher Leonard Harris and Charles Molesworth. Univ. of Chicago, $45 (400p) ISBN 978-0-226-31776-2

Philosophy professor Harris and English professor Molesworth fuse disciplines in this groundbreaking study of Locke (1885–1954), the preeminent African-American aesthetician and philosopher in the years between WWI and WWII, most familiar as the editor of the New Negro, “the chief group presentation of the values and interests of the Harlem Renaissance.” The authors are painstakingly detailed along the usual biographical path—childhood, education (Harvard; Oxford, where Locke was the first African-American Rhodes scholar), work ( Howard University professor, editor, writer). The authors’ separate perspectives bring uncommon depth and detail to the analysis of their subject’s multiple interests: “philosophy, cultural criticism, race theory, adult education, and esthetics, among others.” Locke the thinker holds the center in this biography, but all around are glimpses of Locke the social being—a who’s who of turn-of-the-century Harvard and of decades of African-American writers, scholars and political figures. Harris and Molesworth are as exhausting as they are exhaustive, and in delineating Locke’s life with dense archival richness, the authors have given historians of the Harlem Renaissance, in particular, welcome material to mine for years to come. (Dec.)*

Library Journal, Nov. 4, Black History Month, "will play an essential role in enhancing your collections for years to come.". BIOG

The first African American to win a Rhodes scholarship to Oxford, Locke (1886–1954) was considered the father of the Harlem Renaissance. In this moving portrait, professors Harris and Molesworth focus on the philosopher's childhood, his undergraduate years at Harvard University, and his long tenure at Howard University in Washington, DC, where he helped lead the adult education movement of the 1930s.*