The new Negro The life of Alain Locke

Jeffrey C. Stewart, 1950-

Book - 2018

"A tiny, fastidiously dressed man emerged from Black Philadelphia around the turn of the century to mentor a generation of young artists including Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, and Jacob Lawrence and call them the New Negro--the creative African Americans whose art, literature, music, and drama would inspire Black people to greatness. In The New Negro : The Life of Alain Locke, Jeffrey C. Stewart offers the definitive biography of the father of the Harlem Renaissance, based on the ex...tant primary sources of his life and on interviews with those who knew him personally. He narrates the education of Locke, including his becoming the first African American Rhodes Scholar and earning a PhD in philosophy at Harvard University, and his long career as a professor at Howard University. Locke also received a cosmopolitan, aesthetic education through his travels in continental Europe, where he came to appreciate the beauty of art and experienced a freedom unknown to him in the United States. And yet he became most closely associated with the flowering of Black culture in Jazz Age America and his promotion of the literary and artistic work of African Americans as the quintessential creations of American modernism. In the process he looked to Africa to find the proud and beautiful roots of the race. Shifting the discussion of race from politics and economics to the arts, he helped establish the idea that Black urban communities could be crucibles of creativity. Stewart explores both Locke's professional and private life, including his relationships with his mother, his friends, and his white patrons, as well as his lifelong search for love as a gay man. Stewart's thought-provoking biography recreates the worlds of this illustrious, enigmatic man who, in promoting the cultural heritage of Black people, became--in the process--a New Negro himself."--

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BIOGRAPHY/Locke, Alain
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Location Call Number   Status
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Subjects
Genres
Biographies
Published
New York, NY : Oxford University Press [2018]
Language
English
Physical Description
xii, 932 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
Bibliography
Includes bibliographical references (pages 879-914) and index.
ISBN
9780195089578
019508957X
Main Author
Jeffrey C. Stewart, 1950- (author)
  • Section I. The Education of Alain Locke
  • 1. A Death and a Birth
  • 2. A Black Victorian Childhood
  • 3. Child God and Black Aesthete
  • 4. An Errand of Culture at Howard College, 1904-1905
  • 5. Locke's Intellectual Awakening at Harvard, 1905-1907
  • 6. Going for the Rhodes
  • 7. Oxford Contrasts
  • 8. Black Cosmopolitan
  • 9. Paying Second Year Dues at Oxford, 1908-1909
  • 10. Italy and America, 1909-1910
  • 11. Berlin Stories
  • 12. Exile's Return
  • 13. Race Cosmopolitan Comes Home, 1911-1912
  • 14. Radical Sociologist at Howard University, 1912-1916
  • 15. Rapprochement and Silence : Harvard, 1916-1917
  • 16. Fitting in Washington, DC, 1917-1922
  • Section II. Enter the New Negro
  • 17. Rebirth
  • 18. Mother of a Movement, Mothered in Return, 1922-1923
  • 19. Europe Before Egypt
  • 20. Egypt Bound
  • 21. Renaissance and Self-Fashioning in 1924
  • 22. The Dinner and the Dean
  • 23. Battling the Barnes
  • 24. Looking for Love and Finding the New Negro
  • 25. Harlem Issues
  • 26. The New Negro and Howard
  • 27. The New Negro and The Blacks
  • 28. Beauty or Propaganda?
  • 29. Black Curator and White Momma
  • 30. Langston's Indian Summer
  • 31. The American Scholar
  • 32. On Maternalism
  • Section III. Metamorphosis
  • 33. The Naked and the Nude
  • 34. The Saving Grace of Realism
  • 35. Bronze Booklets, Gold Art
  • 36. Warn A Brother
  • 37. The Riot and the Ride
  • 38. Transformation
  • 39. Two Trains Running
  • 40. The Queer Toussaint
  • 41. The Invisible Locke
  • 42. FBI, Haiti, and Diasporic Democracy
  • 43. Wisdom de Profundis
  • 44. The New Negro Lives
  • Epilogue.
Review by Booklist Reviews

*Starred Review* Stewart, professor of black studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara, presents a definitive biography of an intellectual who philosophically helped shape the Harlem Renaissance, Alain Locke (1885–1954). Stewart writes about the direct and indirect influences Locke had on the lives of many writers and artists of that dynamic, world-changing era, including Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, Richmond Barthé, and others. Stewart traces Locke's life, from his birth into a black bourgeoisie family struggling to hold onto its class standing and reputation to his formative years under the overprotective and dominating rigor of his mother to his years at Harvard, where he received his doctorate in philosophy. The first African American to be named a Rhodes Scholar, in 1907, Locke went on to study in Oxford, where Stewart describes Locke's first taste of academic failure. Stewart documents, with extensive use of primary sources, the highs and lows in Locke's life, his extensive world travels, his long professional teaching career at Howard University, and his personal life as a closeted homosexual. Those who love biographies or reading about important yet undercelebrated Americans will enjoy Stewart's comprehensive, richly contextualized portrait of a key writer, educator, philosopher, and supporter of the arts. Copyright 2018 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Stewart (Paul Robeson: Artist and Citizen) offers a detailed, definitive biography of Alain LeRoy Locke (1885–1954), the godfather of the Harlem Renaissance and all around "renaissance man in the finest sense... a man of sociology, art, philosophy, diplomacy, and the Black radical tradition." A Harvard graduate with a Ph.D. in philosophy, Locke became the first black Rhodes Scholar, studying in England and Germany; Stewart chronicles those travels as well as Locke's travels in Egypt, Haiti, and the Sudan. The book also explores Locke's personal life as a gay man who was attracted to the young intellectuals who inspired him, including sculptor Richmond Barthé and poet Langston Hughes. Stewart details Locke's misogyny toward writers Jessie Fauset and Zora Neale Hurston, as well as his complicated relationships with W.E.B. Du Bois and his Howard colleagues, who resented Locke's influence. Stewart creates a poignant portrait of a formidable yet flawed genius who navigated the cultural boundaries and barriers of his time while nurturing an enduring African-American intellectual movement. (Feb. 2018) Copyright 2017 Publishers Weekly.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

A biography of the father of the Harlem Renaissance describes him becoming the first African American Rhodes Scholar and earning a PhD at Harvard University and promoting the work of young artists including Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston and Jacob Lawrence.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

Winner of the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for BiographyWinner of the 2018 National Book Award for NonfictionA tiny, fastidiously dressed man emerged from Black Philadelphia around the turn of the century to mentor a generation of young artists including Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, and Jacob Lawrence and call them the New Negro -- the creative African Americans whose art, literature, music, anddrama would inspire Black people to greatness. In The New Negro: The Life of Alain Locke, Jeffrey C. Stewart offers the definitive biography of the father of the Harlem Renaissance, based on the extant primary sources of his life and on interviews with those who knew him personally. He narrates the education of Locke, including his becoming thefirst African American Rhodes Scholar and earning a PhD in philosophy at Harvard University, and his long career as a professor at Howard University. Locke also received a cosmopolitan, aesthetic education through his travels in continental Europe, where he came to appreciate the beauty of art andexperienced a freedom unknown to him in the United States. And yet he became most closely associated with the flowering of Black culture in Jazz Age America and his promotion of the literary and artistic work of African Americans as the quintessential creations of American modernism. In the processhe looked to Africa to find the proud and beautiful roots of the race. Shifting the discussion of race from politics and economics to the arts, he helped establish the idea that Black urban communities could be crucibles of creativity. Stewart explores both Locke's professional and private life,including his relationships with his mother, his friends, and his white patrons, as well as his lifelong search for love as a gay man. Stewart's thought-provoking biography recreates the worlds of this illustrious, enigmatic man who, in promoting the cultural heritage of Black people, became -- in the process -- a New Negro himself.