The New Negro: The Life of Alain Locke

Jeffrey C. Stewart. Oxford Univ, $39.95 (962p) ISBN 978-0-19-508957-8
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)
Reviewed on: 10/02/2017
Release date: 02/01/2018
Discover what to read next
TIP SHEET
MORE BOOKS YOU'D LIKE
X
X