Contact the Executive Director of the Alain Locke Society:

Dr. Jacoby Adeshei Carter
City University of New York
John Jay College
524 W. 59th Street
New York, NY 10019

The Alain Locke Society facilitates scholarly work on the life, work, and philosophy of Alain Leroy Locke.

Locke was the first black Rhodes Scholar in 1907, first black Harvard graduate in philosophy in 1918, and editor of the anthology The New Negro (1925), which ushered in and defined the Harlem Renaissance.

Locke was a pragmatist, cultural pluralist, and noted proponent for using the aesthetic features of African-American art to supplant minstrel images and create a new picture of African Americans as complex persons. The influences of African-American literary and folk culture, value theories of Christian von Ehrenfels, Wilbur Urban, and Georg Simmel, the pragmatism of Hugo Munsterberg and William James, and the ideas of Pixley Isaka Seme (one of three founders of the African National Congress of South Africa) and W.E.B. Du Bois are wedded to form his version of pragmatism — critical pragmatism.

Locke’s version of pragmatism emphasizes human emancipation, aesthetics as a social force, ethics of self-formation, transvaluaton of values, and the fallibility of reason, including instrumental pragmatic reasoning.

In pluralist fashion, Locke included articles in the The New Negro that favored competing flagship cities and universities: James W. Johnson, “Harlem: The Cultural Capital”; Robert R. Moton, “Hampton-Tuskegee: Missioners of the Mass”; E. Franklin Frazier, “Durham: Capital of the Black Middle Class”; and W. A. Domingo, “Gift of the Black Tropics.” As it turned out, Howard became the most noted flagship university.

Leonard Harris (Open Letter for Support of Philosophy at Howard Univ)