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Alain Locke

writer, educator
Born: 1886
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pa.

In addition to his long list of academic honors, Locke is credited with helping to initiate and propel the Harlem Renaissance. Locke graduated from Harvard University in 1907 and became the first black Rhodes scholar. He studied at Oxford from 1907 to 1910 and the University of Berlin from 1910 to 1911, then went on to receive a Ph.D. in philosophy from Harvard in 1918. Locke developed a strong interest in African culture and began encouraging black artists and musicians in America to explore their African roots through their work. Through his efforts, the Harlem Renaissance movement gained national attention. He edited and wrote numerous magazines, anthologies, and books about black life and culture. Locke taught at Howard University in Washington, D.C., for nearly 40 years.

Died: 1954

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